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Form No. A -368 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 









New York: — Dix and Edwards. 




Library, Univ. •< 
North Carolina 


In the year 1853, the author of this work made a journey through the 
Seaboard Slave States, and gave an account of his obfervations in the 
" New York Daily Times," under the signature of " Yeoman." Thofe 
letters excited some attention, and their publication in a book was 
announced ; but, before preparing them for the prefs," the author had 
occafiori to make a second and longer vifit to the South. In the 
light of the experience then gathered, the letters have been reviled, 
and, with much additional matter, are now prefented to the public. 

The author's obfervations on Cotton Plantations, and in the fron- 
tier and hill-country of the South, may form the subject of a subfe- 
quent volume. 



The chief design of the author in writing this book 
has been, to describe what was most interesting, 
amusing, and instructive to himself, during the first 
three of fourteen months' traveling in our Slave States ; 
using the later experience to correct the erroneous 
impressions of the earlier. 

He is aware that it has one fault — it is too fault- 
finding. He is sorry fur it, but it cannot now be 
helped ; so at the outset, let the reader understand 
that he is invited to travel in company with an honest 

But growling is sometimes a duty ; and the traveler 
might well be suspected of being a " dead head," or a 
sneak, who did not find frequent occasion for its 
performance, among the notoriously careless, make- 
shift, impersistent people of the South. 

For the rest, the author had, at the outset of his 


journey, a determination to see things for himself, as 
far as possible, and to see them carefully and fairly, 
but cheerfully and kindly. It was his disposition, also, 
to search for the causes and extenuating circumstances, 
past and present, of those phenomena which are com- 
monly reported to the prejudice of the slaveholding 
community ; and especially of those features which are 
manifestly most to be regretted in the actual condition 
of the older Slave States. 

He protests that he has been influenced by no par- 
tisan bias ; none, at least, in the smallest degree un- 
friendly to fair investigation, and honest reporting. At 
the same time, he avows himself a democrat ; not in 
the technical and partisan, but in the primary and 
essential sense of that term. As a democrat he went 
to study the South — its institutions, and its people ; 
more than ever a democrat, he has returned from this 
labor, and written the pages which follow. 

South-Side States; Island, Jan. 9, 185G. 




The Institution for Travelers, 1 ; Servants, 3; A Maryland Farm, 5 ; Slave La- 
bor, 10 j Market Day, 11; Anecdote of a Washington Market- Woman, 12; 
Land and Labor, 13 ; Free Negroes, 14; Dangerous Men, 15. 



Rail-road Glimpses, 16; Richmond, 19; The "Public Guard," and what it 
means, 20 ; Pretense and Parsimony, 21 ; The Model American — Houdon's 
Statue, 22; Public Grounds, Arboriculture, 23 ;*A Slave Funeral, 24 ;*rhe 
Slaves on Sunday, 27 j Dandies, White and Black, 28 ;*Slaves as Merchandise, 
30; A James River Farm, 40; Slave Labor, the Owner hard worked, 44; 
Overseers, 45 ; A Coal Mine— Negro and English Miners, 47 ; Valuable Serv- 
ants, 49; Dresa and Style of People, 50; The Great Southern Route, and 
its Fast Train, 52 ; One of the Law-Givers, 54 ; Freight Taken — the Slave 
Trade, 55 ; Taking Care of Negroes, 58 ; Rural Scenery, and Life in Virginia, 
59 ; Pretty Jane, 62 ; A Sovereign — A School House, 64 ; " Old-Fields" — 
Wild Beasts, 65 ; Explicit Direction, 67 ; The " Straight Road," 69 ; A Farm 
House, 71 ; The Grocery, 73 ; The Court House, 74; The Inn, 75; The New 
Man, and the Old House, 77 ;* Domestic Life, 80 ;* White Laborers, 82; A 
Calamity, 83 ; "Bed-time, 85 ; Settling, 86 ; The Wilderness— The Meeting- 
House, 87; An Old Tobacco Plantation, 88; Thinking and Working — Irish 
and Negro Labor, 91 ; A Free Labor Farm, 94 ; Freed Slaves, 95 ; Uncle Tom, 
97; White Hands, 99 ^Runaways, 100 ; Recreation and Luxury,among the 
Slaves, 101 ; A Bar-Room Session— Ingenuity of the Negro, 103 ; Qualities as 
a Laborer, 104 ; Improvement— Educational Privileges, 106 ; A Distinguished 
Divine, 107; How they are fed in Virginia, 108 ; Lodgings, 111; Clothing 


/ J 

112 ; Religious Condition, 113 ; Falsehood, 116 ; Stealing, 117 ; A Sermon fox 
Slaves, 118 ; Another for Masters, 122; A Firm Faith, 123 ; Free Negroes, 
their Condition in Virginia, and elsewhere, 125; Petersburg to Norfolk, 
133, James River — Norfolk, 135; Neglected Opportunities, 137; Legitimate 
Trade — Mopus, 141 ; Education of Laborers, and of Merchants — Influence of 
Slavery, 146; Labor for the Navy, 143: The Dismal Swamps, and the Lum- 
ber Trade, 149 ; Slave Lumbermen Life in the Swamp — Slaves Quasi Free- 
men, 153 ; The Effect of Wages to Slaves, 155 ; Agricultural Value of Swamp 
Land, 156 ; The Truck Business of Norfolk, 158 ; Runaways in the Swamp, 
159 ; Dismal Negro Hunting, 169. 


Statistics of the Elements of Wealth, and of the Actual Results of Labor, 164; 
Of Intellectual Labor, 172 ; What is not the Cause of the comparative Pov- 
erty, 173 ; Propriety of the Inquiry, 177 ; Explanations suggested, 180 ; Their 
Insufficiency, 181 ; Cost and Value of Labor in Virginia, and in the Wealthier 
States, compared, 185 -"Loss to the Employer from Illness, etc., lSGrCurious 
Complaints of Slaves, 191 ; House Servants, Free and Slave, compared, 195 , 

v Value of Good Will in Work, 198; The Alleged Slavery effected by Com- 
petition, 200 ; The Comparative Amount of Work accomplished by Slave 
Labor and Competitive Labor, 203; Driving, 205; Conclusion, 207;*YVhy 
Free Labor, if cheaper, does not drive out Slavery, 208 ; Results where 
Free Labor has been concentrated, 213 ; The Great Experiment of the 
United States, 214. 



Some Data and Phenomena of the Virginia Experiments in Political Economy — 
how Initiated, 216; Convict Christian Slaves, 223 ; Christian Bond Servants, 
227; Heathen, or Infidel Slaves, 231 ; Quality and Education of the Colonial 
Laborers, 234;^The Proprietors, 234 f Early Tobacco Culture, 236; What 
might have been, 240 • Style of Living, 241; Wealth and Extravagance of 
the Colonial Aristocracy, 243 ; Industrial Condition of Virginia in the Hal- 
cyon Past, 248; The Revolution of 1776— Excitement and Reaction, 255; 
Religious Liberty, 257 ; Primogeniture and Entail, 259 ; Education and 
Emancipation of the Slave People, 261 ; Of the White Poor, 267 ; Social Re- 
sults of the Revolution, 269 ; Industrial Results, 271 ; Downfall of tho Aris- 
tocracy, 273 ; Effect of Democracy, 275 ; Industrial Progress, 277 ; Rise of the 
Internal Slave Trade, 278; Its Industrial Consequences, 280; Influence ••« 


Condition of the Slave, 281 ; Effect of the Abolition Agitation, 284 ; Present 
the Political Tendencies in Virginia, 288 ; Education, 291 ; The Future Pros- 
pect, 302. 



Mine Ease in mine Hotel, 305 ; Petersburg to Weldon, 307 ; Stage Coaching, 
309 ; Lazy Niggers, 313 ; Negroes on Public Conveyances, 315 ; The Idee of 
Potassum a First-Rater, 317 ; Night Trains, 317 ; Raleigh, 318 ; Evergreens, 
319 ; A Stage Coach Campaign, 320 ; Bawley, Rockland Bob, 323 ; The Piny 
Wood, 325; A Horse-Killer, 329; A Praying Blacksmith, 331; Talent Ap- 
plied to Inn-Keeping, 332; Fire! Turn Out! 337; Turpentine, and Naval 
Stores — An Account of the Method of Collection, and of Manufacture, 337 ; 
Distillation, 343 ; Rosin, 345 ; Tar, 347 ; Slaves in the Turpentine Country, 
and White Vagabonds, 388; The North Carolina Fisheries,, and Slave Fisher- 
men, 351 ; Titanic Dentistry, 354 ; Slaves Eager to work when stimulated- 
by Wages, 355 ; Scotch Highlanders — Immigration to North Carolina, 355 ; 
A Cotton Mill, 356 ; Wagoners, 357 ; Boatmen, 359 ; Tobacco-Rollers, 360 ; 
Improved Means of Transport, 361 ; Gross Intermeddling of Northerners, 
363; Wagon Competition with Rail-roads, 364; Plank Roads, 365; North 
Carolina Character, 366 ; Slavery in North Carolina. 367 ; Cape Fear River, 
368; Wooding Up, 369 ; Labor in the Glue Trade. 371 ; Wilmington, 374 ; 
Property Interests, 375. 



Rail-road Gang, 377 ; Northern Hay, 378 ; Profit of Slave-Labor, 379 ; Rough 
Riding, 380; " Very Nice Country," 382 ; Natural Scenery, 382 ; The People, 
384; Their Habitations, 385; Cotton Plantations, 386; Field Hands, 387; An 
Overseer, 388 ; A Free Nigger, 389 ; North Carolina and South Carolina Nig- 
gers, 391 ; A Pleasant Farm House, 393 ; Negro Jodling — the Carolina Yell, 
394 ; Camp Fires, 395 ; Slaves at Work, 397 ; Conversation with a Peasant, 
398 ; His Geographical Knowledge— Education of the Children of the Higher 
Class, 402 ; Manners and Morals in South Carolina, 403; Charleston, 404; 
Savannah, 405 ; Slave Funerals, 405 ; A Slave Grave- Yard— Tombstones, 406- ; 
The Eice Coast, 409 ; Northern Invalids and Other Travelers, and the Ac- 
commodations for them, 409 ; " Show Plantations," 412 ; The Crackers, 413 ; 
Negro Quarters, 416 ; A Delightful Mansion, Wonderful Live Oak Avenue, 
417 ; Visit to a Eice Plantation, 418 ; The Eice Coast Malaria, 418 ; House 
Servants and Field Hands, 421 ; Negro Quarters, 422 ; The Slave Nursery, 
423 ; Teufelsdroekk's Secret of Happiness, 425; The Watchman — an intelligent 
and trusty Slave, 426; How he became so— Effect of Education, 429; 


What is the Economy of Slavery, 429; Field Hands, 430 ; Food, 431 ; More 
FieldHands, their Dress and Appearance, 432 ; " Water Toters," 433 ; Grades 
of Field Hands, 433 ; A Native African — Task Work, 434 ; Drivers, 436 ; 
Punishment, 438 ; kSlaves taking care of themselves, 439 ; Nefarious Traders 
and Grog-Shops, 441 ; Laws of Trade on the Plantation, 442 ; A Scheme of 
Emancipation suggested, 443 ; Special Depravity of the Negro, 446 ; Slave 
Marriages and Funerals, 448 ; Slave Chapels and Worship, 449 ; Slave Clei'gy, 
450 ; A Eeligious Service among the Crackers. 451. 



Rice, and its Culture — Extent, and how Limited, 462 ; The Atlantic Rice Dis- 
trict, 465 ; Slave Labor, as applied on Rice Plantations, 478 ; Treatment of 
Slaves on Rice Plantations, 484 ; Overseers, 486. 



The Democratic Social Theory, 489 ; The South Carolina Social Theory, 491 ; 
Origin and Early Character of South Carolina, 492; Origin of "American- 
ism," 495 ; The Early Black Code, 496; Progress, 497; Results, 500; Good 
Society, 501 ; The Free Laboring Class at the Revolution, 502 ; Its Present 
Condition, 504 ; The Sand-Hillers, 506; Immigration, 510 ; Present Industrial 
Condition, 515 ; The Predicament, 522 ; The Origin of the Georgia Communi- 
ty, 523; Early Resistance to Slavery, 527; The Law against Slavery abro- 
gated, 528 ; Influence of the Early Democracy, 529 ; Consequences of Slavery, 
531 ; Note on Ship-Building, 540 ; On Manufactures, and other Industry, 542. 



Georgia Rail-roads, 546; Columbus — Manufacturing Workmen, 547 ; Mont- 
gomery, 549 ; The Alabama River, 549 ; Loading Cotton, 550 ; Value of Slaves 
secures Care of them, 550 ; Negro Singers, 551 ; Capacity of the Negro. 552 ; 
Slave High Life, 554 ; A Negro Lover, 554 ; A Negro Overseeing a White 
Laborer. 555 ; Natural Affection of Slaves, 555 ; Their Loyalty to their 
Masters, 556; Conversation with a Good Subject, 557; The Citizens, 559 ; 
Characteristics, 560 ; A Droll Texan, 560 ; How he talked, 501 ; Not a Bet- 


ting, but a Cotton Man, 56:2 ; Deck Hands, Negro Jollity, and Wastefulness, 
564 ; Mobile, 565 j Passage to New Orleans — Texan Immigrants, 568 ; Bad 
Speculation -with a Negro, 570 ; a Peasant — Conversation about Slavery and 
Abolition, 572. 


Origin, 574 ; Emigration, 576 ; Present Condition and Prospects, 576. 



New Orleans, 578; French Aspect, 580; The Cathedral, 582; Gradations of 
Color among the People, 583 , Pine Negro Stock, 584 ; The Slave Trade, 
Economically, 585; Could Europeans displace Negroes in the Climate, 586 ; 
Mechanics and Laborers, 587 ; Competition of Free and Slave, 589 ; Com- 
merce and Slavery, 591 ; The Lorettcs, 594 ; Licentiousness and Extrava- 
gance — Democratic Education, 598 ; Red River Emigrant Craft, 603 ; Uncle 
Tom and the Vindication ot Slavery — a Rebuff, 608 ; Negro Boat Songs — 
Stowing Away, 611 ; Slave Emigrants, 613 ; A Race, 614 ; Sharp Shooters, 
615 ; Uncle Tom discussed, 617 ; Another Sort, 620 ; A Carlylist, 631 ; Ele- 
ments of Progress, North and South, 621 ; Rigolet de Bon Dieu — Use of Claret 
— The Temperance Problem, 625; Planting and Grazing, 628; Negro Cabins, 
629; Positive Morality, A Secret Agent of Satan, 630; Buying the Spanish 
Vote, 632 ; Free Colored Slave-Owners, 632; Conversation with a Free Ne- 
gro, 634; Louisiana Lawyers, 637; Egyptians, 638; White Slaves, 640; 
Opelousas, 642; Germans, 642; Pleasant Retirement, 643; "Fights," 644; 
Theology and Morality, 645 ; A Creole Ball, 646 ; Court, 646 ; The Nigger 
Trade. 647 ; The Creoles, 648 ; Condition of their Slaves, 650 ; Planters of 
Louisiana and Farmers of New York compared, 652 ; Habits of the Planters, 
652 ; Cuba, 655 ; Visit to a Sugar Plantation, 656 ; Relation of Slaves and 
Owner, 658 ; Treatment of Slaves, 659 ; Plantation Economy, 660 ; Sugar 
Cane, 663 ; Economy of Louisiana, 664 ; Cane Culture, 665 ; The Grinding 
Season, 667 ; Hard Work liked, 668 ; Manufacture of Sugar, 670 ; Acadiens, 
673 ; Chicken Thieves, 674 ; Conversation on Slavery, 675 ; Conversation with 
a Slave about Abolitionism. 677 ; Expenses of Plantations, 686 ; Condition 
of Free and Slave Laborers compared, 688 ; Slavery no Security against 
Famine, 707; Conclusion, 711 ; Influence of Slavery on our own Labor, 
712 ; Appendix, 717 ; Appendix A, 724. *» 

" Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they 
discuss it freely." — Macaulay. 

" You have among you many a purchased slave, 
Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules, 
You use in abject and in slavish parts, 
Because you bought them : 

" So do I answer you. 
The pound of flesh which I demand cf him, 
Is clearly bought ; 'tis mine, and I will have it. 
If you deny me, fie upon your law !" — Shylock. - 

" The one idea which History exhibits as evermore developing itself 
into greater distinctness, is the idea of humanity, the noble endeavor to 
throw down all barriers erected between men by prejudice and one-sided 
views, and by setting aside the distinctions of religion, country, and 
color, to treat the whole human race as one Brotherhood, having one 
great object — the pure development of our spiritual nature." — Hum- 
boldt's Cosmos. 




Gadsby's Hotel, Dec. 10. 

To accomplish the purposes which brought me to Washing- 
ton, it was necessary, on arriving here, to make arrangements 
to secure food and shelter while I remained. There are two 
thousand of us visitors in Washington under a similar neces- 
sity. There are a dozen or more persons who, for a consid- 
eration, undertake to provide what we want. Mr. Dexter is 
reported to be the best of them, and really seems a very 
obliging and honestly-disposed person. To Mr. Dexter, there- 
fore, I commit myself. 

I commit myself by inscribing my name in a Register. 

Five minutes after I have done so, Clerk No. 4, whose attention 

I have been unable to obtain any sooner, suddenly catches the 

Register by the corner, swings it round with a jerk, and throws 

a hieroglyphic scrawl at it, which strikes near my name. 

Henceforth, I figure as Boarder No. 201, (or whatever it 

may be). Clerk No. 4 whistles (" Boarders, away ! "), and 

throws key, No. 201 upon the table. Turnkey No. 3 takes 


it, and me, and my traveling bag, up several flights of stairs, 
along corridors and galleries, and finally consigns me to this 
little square cell. 

I have faith that there is a tight roof above the very much 
cracked ceiling ; that the bed is clean ; and that I shall, by- 
and-by, be summoned, along with hundreds of other persons, to 
partake, in grandly silent sobriety, of a very sumptuous dinner. 

Food and shelter. Therewith should a man be content. 
It will enable me to accomplish my purpose in coming to 
Washington. But my perverse nature will not be content : 
will be wishing things were otherwise. They say this uneasi- 
ness — this passion for change — is a peculiarity of our diseased 
Northern nature. The Southern man finds Providence in all 
that is : Satan in all that might be. That is good ; and, as 
I am going South, when I have accomplished my purposes 
at Washington, I will not here restrain the escape of my 
present discontent. 

I have such a shockingly depraved nature that I wish the 
dinner was not going to be so grand. My idea is that, if 
it were not, Mr. Dexter would save moneys, which I would 
like to have him expend in other ways. I wish he had more 
clerks, so that they would have time to be as polite to an 
unknown man as I see they are to John P. Hale ; and, at 
least, answer civil questions, when his guests ask them. I don't 
like such a fearful rush of business as there is down stairs. I 
wish there were men enough to do the work quietly. 

I don't Hke these cracked and variegated walls ; and, though 
the roof may be tight, I don't like this threatening aspect 
of the ceiling. It should be kept for people of Damoclesian 
ambition : I am humble. 


I am humble, and I am short, and soon curried; but I 
am not satisfied with a quarter of a yard of toweling, having 
an irregular vacancy in its centre, where I am liable to insert 
my head. I am not proud ; but I had rather have something 
else, or nothing, than these three yards of ragged and faded 
quarter-ply carpeting. I also would like a curtain to the 
window, and I wish the glass were not so dusty, and that 
the sashes did not rattle so in their casements ; though, as 
there is no other ventilation, I suppose I ought not to complain. 
Of course not; but it is confoundedly cold, as well as noisy. 
I don't like that broken latch ; I don't like this broken chair • 
I would prefer that this table were not so greasy in its appear- 
ance ; I would rather the ashes and cinders, and the tobacco . 
juice around the grate, had been removed before I was consigned 
to the cell. 

I wish that less of my two dollars and a half a day went 
to pay for game for the dinner, and the interest of the cost of 
the mirrors and mahogany for the public parlors, and of marble 
for the halls, and more of it for providing me with a private 
room, which should be more than a barely habitable cell, which 
should also be a little bit tasteful, home-like, and comfortable. 


I wish more of it was expended in servants' wages. 

Six times I rang the bell; three several times came three 
different Irish lads ; entered, received my demand for a fire, and 
retired. I was writing, shiveringly, a full hour before the 
fire-man came. Now he has entered, bearing on his head a hod 
of coal and kindling wood, without knocking. An aged negro, 
more familiar and more indifferent to forms of subserviency thai 


the Irish lads, very much bent, seemingly with infirmity, an 
expression of impotent anger in his face, and a look of weak- 
ness, like a drunkard's. He does not look at me, but mutters 

"What's that you say?" 

" Tink I can make a hundred fires at once ?" 

" I dont want to sit an hour waiting for a fire, after I have 
ordered one, and you must not let me again." 

"Nebber let de old nigger have no ress — hundred gemmen 
tink I kin mak dair fires all de same minute ; all get mad at an 
ole nigger ; I ain't a goin to stan it — nebber get no ress — up all 
night — haint got nautin to eat nor drink dis blessed mornin— 
hundred gemmen — " 

" That's not my business ; Mr. Dexter should have more serv- 

" So he ort ter, master, dat he had, one ole man ain't enough 
for all dis house, is it master? hundred gemmen — " 

" Stop — here's a quarter for you ; now I want you to look out 
that I have a good fire, and keep the hearth clean in my room as 
long as I stay here. And when I send for you I want you to 
come immediately. Do you understand?" 

" I'le try, master — you jus look roun and fine me when you 
want yer fire ; I'll be roun somewhere. You got a newspaper, 
Sir, I ken take for a minit ; I won't hurt it." 

I gave him one ; and wondered what use he could put it to, 
that would not hurt it. He opened it to a folio, and spread it 
before the grate, so the draft held it in place, and it acted as a 
blower. I asked if there were no blowers? "No." "But 
haven't you got any brush or shovel ?" I inquired, seeing him 
get down upon his knees again and sweep the cinders and ashes 


he had thrown upon the floor with the sleeve of his coat, and then 
take them up with his hands ; — no, he said, his master did not 
give him such things. "Are you a slave 1 ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Do you belong to Mr. Dexter V* 

" No, sir, he hires me of de man dat owns me. Don't you tink 
I'se too ole a man for to be knock roun at dis kind of work, mas- 
sa? — hundred gemmen all want dair fires made de same min- 
ute, and caus de old nigger cant do it all de same minute, ebbery 
one tinks dey's boun to scold him all de time ; nebber no rest 
for him, no time." 

I know the old fellow lied somewhat, for I saw another fireman 
in Mr. B.'s room. Was that quarter a good investment, or 
should I have complained at the office ? No, they are too busy 
to listen to me, too busy, certainly, to make better arrangements. 

It is time for me to call on Mr. S. ; the fire has gone out, leav- 
ing a fine bituminous fragrance in the cell. I will " look round" 
for the fireman, as I travel the long road to the office, and, if I do 
not find him, leave an order, in writing, for a fire to be made 
before two o'clock. 


Washington, Dec. 14th. Called on Mr. C, whose fine farm, 
from its vicinity to Washington, and its excellent management, 
as well as from the hospitable habits of its owner, has a national 
reputation. It is some two thousand acres in extent, and situated 
just without the District, in Maryland. 

The residence is in the midst of the farm, a quarter of a mile 
from the high road — the private approach being judiciously carried 
through large pastures which are divided only by slight, but close 


and well-secured, wire fences. The mansion is of brick, and, as 
seen through the surrounding trees, has somewhat the look of an 
old French chateau. The kept grounds are very limited, and in 
simple but quiet taste ; being surrounded only by wires, they 
merge, in effect, into the pastures. There is a fountain, an orna- 
mental dove-cote, and ice-house, and the approach road, nicely 
graveled and rolled, comes up to the door with a fine sweep. 

I had dismounted and was standing before the door, when I 
heard myself loudly hailed from a distance. 

" Ef yer wants to see Master, sah, he's clown thar — to the new 

I could see no one ; and when I was tired of holding my horse, 
I mounted, and rode on in search of the new stable. I found it 
without difficulty ; and in it Mr. and Mrs. C. With them were 
a number of servants, one of whom now took my horse with 
alacrity. I was taken at once to look at a very fine herd of cows, 
and afterwards led upon a tramp over the farm, and did not get 
back to the house till dinner time. 

The new stable is most admirably contrived for convenience, 
labor-saving, and economy of space. (Full and accurate descrip- 
tions of it, with illustrations, have been given in several agricultu- 
ral journals.) The cows are mainly thorough-bred Shorthorns, 
with a few imported Ayrshires and Alderneys, and some small 
black "natives." I have seldom seen a better lot of milkers; 
they are kept in good condition, are brisk and healthy, docile and 
kind, soft and pliant of skin, and give milk up to the very eve of 
calving ; milking being never interrupted for a day. Near the 
time of calving the milk is given to the calves and pigs. The 
object is to obtain milk only, which is never converted into but- 
ter or cheese, but sent immediately to town, and for this the 


Shorthorns are found to be the most profitable breed. Mr. C. 
believes that, for butter, the little Alderneys, from the peculiar rich- 
ness of their milk, would be the most valuable. He is, probably, 
mistaken, though I remember that in Ireland the little black 
Kerry cow was found fully equal to the Ayrshire for butter, 
though giving much less milk. 

There are extensive bottom lands on the farm, subject to 
be flooded in freshets, on which the cows are mainly pas- 
tured in summer. Indian corn is largely sown for fodder, 
and, during the driest season, the cows are regularly soiled 
with it. These bottom lands were entirely covered with heavy 
wood, until, a few years since, Mr. C. erected a steam saw-mill, 
and has lately been rapidly clearing them, and floating off the 
sawed timber to market by means of a small stream that runs 
through the farm. 

The low land is much of it drained, underdrains being made 
of rough boards of any desired width nailed together, so that a 
section is represented by the inverted letter j^. Such covered 
drains have lasted here twenty years without failing yet, but 
have only been tried where the flow of water was constant 
throughout the year. 

The water collected by the drains can be, much of it, drawn 
into a reservoir, from which it is forced by a pump, driven by 
horse-power, to the market-garden, where it is distributed from 
several fountain-heads, by means of hose, and is found of great 
value, especially for celery. The celery trenches are arranged in 
concentric circles, the water-head being in the center. The 
water-closets and all the drainage of the house are turned to 
good account in the same way. Mr. C. contemplates extending 
his water-pipes to some of his meadow lands. Wheat and hay 


are the chief crops sold off the farm, and the amount of them 
produced is yearly increasing. 

The two most interesting points of husbandry, to me, were the 
large and profitable use of guano and bones, and the great extent 
of turnip culture. Crops of one thousand and twelve hundred 
bushels of rata baga to the acre have been frequent, and this year 
the whole crop of the farm is reckoned to be over thirty thousand 
bushels ; all to be fed out to the neat stock between this time and 
the next pasture season. The soil is generally a red, stiff loam, 
with an occasional stratum of coarse gravel, and, therefore, not 
the most favorable for turnip culture. The seed is always 
imported, Mr. C.'s experience, in this respect, agreeing with my 
own: — the Euta baga undoubtedly degenerates in our climate. 
Bones, guano, and ashes are used in connection with yard- 
dung for manure. The seed is sown from the middle to the last 
of July in drills, but not in ridges, in the English way. In both 
these respects, also, Mr. C. confirms the conclusions I have 
arrived at in the climate of New York ; namely, that ridges are 
best dispensed with, and that it is better to sow in the latter part 
of July than in June, as has been generally recommended in our 
books and periodicals. Last year, turnips sown on the 20th 
July were larger and finer than others, sown on the same ground, 
on my farm, about the first of the month. This year I sowed in 
August, and, by forcing with superphosphate — home manufac- 
tured — and guano, obtained a fine crop; but the season was 
unusually favorable. 

Mr. C. always secures a supply of turnips that will allow him 
to give at least one bushel a day to every cow while in winter 
quarters. The turnips are sliced, slightly salted, and commonly 
mixed with fodder and meal. Mr. C. finds that salting the 


sliced turnip, twelve hours before it is fed, effectually prevents its 
communicating any taste to the milk. This, so far as I know, 
is an original discovery of his, and is one of great value to dairy- 
men. In certain English dairies the same result is obtained, where 
the cows are fed on cabbages, by the expensive process of heat- 
ing the milk to a certain temperature and then adding saltpetre. 

The wheat crop of this district has been immensely increased, 
by the use of guano, during the last four years. On this farm 
it has been largely used for five years ; and land that had not been 
cultivated for forty years, and which bore only broom-sedge — a 
thin, worthless grass — by the application of two hundred weight of 
Peruvian guano, now yields thirty bushels of wheat to an acre. 

Mr. C.'s practice of applying guano differs, in some particulars, 
from that commonly adopted here. After a deep plowing of 
land intended for wheat, he sows the seed and guano at the same 
time, and harrows both in. The common custom here is to plow 
in the guano, six or seven inches deep, in preparing the ground 
for wheat. I believe Mr. C.'s plan is the best. I have myself 
used guano on a variety of soils for several years with great 
success for wheat, and I may mention the practice I have adopted 
from the outset, and with which I am well satisfied. It strikes 
between the two systems I have mentioned, and I think is 
philosophically right. After preparing the ground with plow 
and harrow, I sow wheat and guano together, and plow them in 
with a gang-plow which covers to a depth, on an average, of 
three inches. 

Clover seed is sowed in the spring following the wheat-sowing, 
and the year after the wheat is taken off, this — on the old sterile 
hills — grows luxuriantly, knee-high. It is left alone for two 

years, neither mown nor pastured ; there it grows and there it 


lies, keeping the ground moist and shady, and improving it on 
the Gurney principle. 

Mr. C. then manures with dung, bones, and guano, and with 
another crop of wheat lays this land down to grass. What the 
ultimate effect of this system will be, it is yet too early to say — 
but Mr. C. is pursuing it with great confidence. 


Mr. C. is a large hereditary owner of slaves, which, for ordinary 
field and stable-work, constitute his laboring force. He has 
employed several Irishmen for ditching, and for this work, 
and this alone, he thought he could use them to better advantage 
than negroes. He would not think of using Irishmen for common 
farm-labor, and made light of their coming in competition with 
slaves. Negroes at hoeing and any steady field-work, he assured 
me, would "do two to their one;" but his main objection to 
employing^nslimen was derived from his experience of their 
unfaithfulness — they were dishonest, would not obey explicit 
directions about their work, and required more personal super- 
vision than negroes. From what he had heard and seen of 
Germans, he supposed they did better than Irish. He mentioned 
that there were several Germans who had come here as laboring 
men, and worked for wages several years, who had now got 
possession of small farms, and were reputed to be getting 
rich.* He was disinclined to converse on the topic of slavery, and 

* " There is asmall settlement of Germans, about three miles from me, who, a few 
years since (with little or nothing beyond their physical abilities to aid them) , seated 
themselves down in a poor, miserable old field, and have, by their industry, an. 
meajis obtained by working round among the neighbors, effected a change which 
is really surprising and pleasing to behold, and who will, I have no doubt, become 
wealthy, provided they remain prudent, as they have hitherto been industrious." 
— F. A. Clopper, (Montgomery Co.), Maryland, in Patent Of. Kept., 1851. 


I, therefore, made no inquiries about the condition and habits of 
his negroes, or his management of them. They seemed to live 
in small and rude log-cabins, scattered in different parts of the 
farm. Those I saw at work appeared to me to move very slowly 
and awkwardly, as did also those engaged in the stable. These, 
also, were very stupid and dilatory in executing any orders given 
to them, so that Mr. C. would frequently take the duty off their 
hands into his own, rather than wait for them, or make them 
correct their blunders : they were much, in these respects, like 
what our farmers call dumb Paddies — that is, Irishmen who do 
not readily understand the English language, and who are still 
weak and stiff from the effects of the emigrating voyage. At 
the entrance-gate w T as a porters lodge, and, as I approached, I 
saw a black face peeping at me from it, but, both when I entered 
and left, I was obliged to dismount and open the gate myself. 

Altogether, it struck me — slaves coming here as they naturally 
did in direct comparison with free laborers, as commonly employed 
on my own and my neighbor's farms, in exactly similar duties — 
that they must be very difficult to direct efficiently, and that it 
must be very irksome and trying to one's patience, to have to 
superintend their labor. 


Washington, Dec. 16. Visiting the market-place, early on 
Tuesday morning, I found myself in the midst of a throng 
of a very different character from any I have ever seen at 
the North. The majority of the people were negroes, and, 
taken as a whole, they appeared inferior in the expression 
of their face and less well-clothed than any collection of 
negroes I had ever seen before. All the negro characteris- 


tics were more clearly marked in each than they often are 
in any at the North. In their dress, language, manner, mo- 
tions — all were distinguishable almost as much by their color, 
from the white people who were distributed among them, and 
engaged in the same occupations — chiefly selling poultry, vege- 
tables, and small country-produce. The white men were, 
generally, a mean looking people, and but meanly dressed, but 
differently so from the negroes. 

Most of the produce was in small, rickety carts, drawn by the 
smallest, ugliest, leanest lot of oxen and horses that I ever saw. 
There was but one pair of horses in over a hundred that were tolera- 
bly good — a remarkable proportion of them were maimed in some 
way. As for the oxen, I do not believe New England and New 
York together could produce a single yoke so poor as the best 
of them. 

The very trifling quantity of articles brought in and exposed 
for sale by most of the market-people was noticeable ; a peck of 
potatoes, three bunches of carrots, two cabbages, six eggs and a 
chicken, would be about the average stock in trade of all the 
dealers. Mr. F. said that an old negro woman once came to his 
door with a single large turkey, which she pressed him to buy. 
Struck with her fatigued appearance, he made some inquiries of 
her, and ascertained that she had been several days coming from 
home, had traveled mainly on foot, and had brought the turkey 
and nothing else with her. " Ole massa had to raise some money 
somehow, and he could not sell anyting else, so he tole me to 
catch the big gobbler, and tote um down to Washington and see 
wot um would fotch." 

The prices of garden productions were high, compared even 
with New York. All the necessaries of life are very expensive in 


Washington ; great complaint is made of exorbitant rents, and 
building-lots are said to have risen in value several hundred per 
cent, within five or six years. 

The population of the city is now over 50,000, and is increasing 
rapidly. There seems to be a deficiency of tradespeople, and I 
have no doubt the profits of retailers are excessive. There is one 
cotton factory in the District of Columbia, employing one 
hundred and fifty hands, male and female ; a small foundry ; a 
distillery ; and two tanneries — all not giving occupation to fifty 
men ; less than two hundred, altogether, out of a resident popu- 
lation of nearly 150,000, being engaged in manufactures. Very 
few of the remainder are engaged in productive occupations. 
There is water-power near the city, superior to that of Lowell, 
of which, at present, I understand that no use at all is made. 


Land may be purchased, within twenty miles of Washington, 
at from ten to twenty dollars an acre. Most of it has been 
once in cultivation, and, having been exhausted in raising 
tobacco, has been, for many years, abandoned, and is now covered 
by a forest growth. Several New Yorkers have lately specu- 
lated in the purchase of this sort of land, and, as there is 
a good market for wood, and the soil, by the decay of leaves 
upon it, and other natural causes, has been restored to moderate 
fertility, have made money by clearing and improving it. By 
deep plowing and limeing, and the judicious use of manures, it 
is made very productive; and, as equally cheap farms can 
hardly be found in any free State, in such proximity to so high 
markets for agricultural produce, as those of Washington and 
Alexandria, there are good inducements for a considerable 


Northern immigration hither. It may not he long hefore a 
majority of the inhabitants will he opposed to Slavery, and 
desire its abolition within the District. Indeed, when Mr. 
Seward proposed in the Senate to allow them to decide that 
matter, the advocates of '"'popular sovereignty" made haste- to 
vote down the motion. 

There are, already, more Irish and German laborers and 
servants than slaves, and, as many of the objections which free 
laborers have to going further South, do not operate in Wash- 
ington, the proportion of white laborers is every year increas- 
ing. The majority of servants, however, are now free negroes, 
which class constitutes one-fifth of the entire population. The 
slaves are one-fifteenth, but are mostly owned out of the District, 
and hired annually to those who require their services. In 
the assessment of taxable property, for 1853, the slaves, owned 
or hired in the District, were valued at three hundred thousand 


The colored population voluntarily sustain several churches, 
schools, and mutual assistance and improvement societies, and 
there are evidently persons among them of no inconsiderable 
cultivation of mind. Among the Police Eeports of the City 
newspapers, there was lately (April, 1855) an account of the 
apprehension of twenty-four "genteel colored men" (so they 
were described), who had been found by a watchman assembling 
privately in the evening, and been lodged in the watch-house. 
The object of their meeting appears to have been purely 
benevolent, and, when they were examined before a magistrate 
in the morniusr, no evidence was offered, nor does there seem 


k c have been any suspicion that they had any criminal pur- 
pose. On searching their persons, there were found a Bible, 
a volume of Seneca's Morals; Life in Earnest; the printed 
Constitution of a Society, the object of -which was said to be 
"to relieve the sick, and bury the dead;" and a subscription paper 
to purchase the freedom of Eliza Howard, a young woman, 
whom her owner was willing to sell at $650. 

I can think of nothing that would speak higher for the 
character of a body of poor men, servants and laborers, than, 
to find, by chance, in their pockets, just such things as these. 
And I cannot value that man as a countryman, who does not * ( 
feel intense humiliation and indignation, when he learns that / 
such men may not be allowed to meet privately together, with 
such laudable motives, in the capital city of the United States, 
without being subject to disgraceful punishment. Washington 
is, at this time, governed by the Know Nothings, and the 
magistrate, in disposing of the case, was probably actuated by 
a well-founded dread of secret conspiracies, inquisitions, and 
persecutions. One . of the prisoners, a slave named Joseph 
Jones, he ordered to be flogged; four others, called in the 
papers free men, and named John E. Bennett, Chester Taylor, 
George Lee, and Aquila Barton, were sent to the Work-house, 
and the remainder, on paying costs of court, and fines, amount- 
ing, in the aggregate, to one hundred and eleven dollars, were 
permitted to range loose again. 





'-■■■ ':' ■ ' 

-z r - ^■■■-.■'^S \ >5 --- : ,i&^^llps**S 


Dec. 16th. From Washington to Richmond, Virginia, by the 
regular great southern route — steamboat on the Potomac to Acquia 
Creek, and thence direct by rail. The boat makes 55 miles 
in 3-|- hours, including two stoppages (12 J miles an hour); fare 
$2 (3-6 cents a mile). Flat rail; distance, 75 miles; time, 
51 hours (13 miles an hour); fare, $3 50 (4|- cents a mile). 

Not more than a third of the country, visible on this route, 


I should say, is cleared; the rest is mainly a pine forest. Of 
the cleared land, not more than one quarter seems to have 
been lately in cultivation; the rest is grown over with briars 
and bushes, and a long, coarse grass of no value. But two 
crops seem to be grown upon the cultivated land — maize and 
wheat. The last is frequently sown in narrow beds and 
carefully surface-drained, and is looking remarkably well. 

A good many substantial old plantation mansions are to be 
seen; generally standing in a grove of white oaks, upon some 
hill-top. Most of them are constructed of wood, of two stories, 
painted white, and have, perhaps, a dozen rude-looking little 
log-cabins scattered around them, for the slaves. Now and 
then, there is one of more pretension, with a large porch or 
gallery in front, like that of Mount Vernon. These are 
generally in a heavy, compact style; less often, perhaps, than 
similar establishments at the North , in markedly bad, or vulgar 
taste ; but seldom elegant, or even neat, and almost always in 
sad need of repairs. 

The more common sort of habitations of the white people 
are either of logs or loosely-boarded frames, a brick chimney 
running up outside, at one end: everything very slovenly and 
dirty about them. Swine, fox-hounds, and black and white 
children, are commonly lying very promiscuously together, on 
the ground about the doors. 

I am struck with the close co-habitation and association of 
black and white — negro women are carrying black and white 
babies together in their arms; black and white children are 
playing together (not going to school together); black and 
white faces are constantly thrust together out of the doors, to 
see the train go by. 


A fine-looking, well-dressed, and well-behaved colored young 
man sat, together with a white man, on a seat in the cars. I 
suppose the man was his master; but he was much the 
less like a gentleman, of the two. The rail-road company 
advertise to take colored people only in second class trains; 
but servants seem to go with their masters everywhere. Once, 
to-day, seeing a lady entering the car at a way-station, with a 
family behind her, and that she was looking about to find a 
place where they could be seated together, I rose, and offered 
her my seat, which had several vacancies around it. She 
accepted it, without thanking me, and immediately installed in 
it a stout negro woman; took the adjoining seat herself, and 
seated the rest of her party before her. It consisted of a white 
girl, probably her daughter, and a bright and very pretty 
mulatto girl. They all talked and laughed together, and the 
girls munched confectionery out of the same paper, with a 
familiarity and closeness of intimacy that would have been 
notice'd with astonishment, if not with manifest displeasure, in 
almost any chance company at the North. When the negro is 
definitely a slave, it would seem that the alleged natural 
antipathy of the white race to associate with him is lost. 

I am surprised at the number of fine-looking mulattoes, or 
nearly white colored persons, that I see. The majority of those 
with whom I have come personally in contact are such. I fancy 
I see a peculiar expression among these — a contraction of the 
eyebrows and tightening of the lips — a spying, secretive, and 
counsel-keeping expression. 

But the great mass, as they are seen at work, under overseers, 
in the fields, appear very dull, idiotic, and brute-like; and it 
requires an effort to appreciate that they are, very much more 


than the beasts they drive, our brethren — a part of ourselves. 
They are very ragged, and the women especially, who work in the 
field with the men, with no apparent distinction in their labor, 
disgustingly dirty. They seem to move very awkwardly, slowly, 
and undecidedly, and almost invariably stop then 1 work while the 
train is passing. 

One tannery and two or three 'saw-mills afforded the only 
indications I saw, in seventy-five miles of this old country — ■ 
settled before any part of Massachusetts — of any industrial 
occupation other than corn and wheat culture, and fire-wood 
chopping. At Fredericksburg we passed through the streets of 
a rather busy, poorly-built town; but, altogether, the country 
seen from the rail-road, bore less signs of an active and prospering 
people than any I ever traveled through before, for an equal 


Eichmond, at a glance from adjacent high ground, through a 
dull cloud of bituminous smoke, upon a lowering winter's day, 
has a very picturesque appearance, and I was reminded of the 
sensation produced by a similar coup d'ceil of Edinburg. It is 
somewhat similarly situated upon and among some considerable 
hills, but the moment it is examined at all in detail, there is but 
one spot, in the whole picture, upon which the eye is at all 
attracted to rest. This is the Capitol, an imposing Grecian 
edifice, standing alone, and finely placed on open and elevated 
ground, in the center of the town. It was built soon after the 
Revolution, and the model was obtained by Mr. Jefferson, then 
Minister to France, from the Maison Carree. 

A considerable part of the town, which contains a population 


of 28,000, is compactly and somewhat substantially built, but is 
without any pretensions to architectural merit, except in a few 
modern private mansions. The streets are not paved, and but 
few of them are provided with side-walks other than of earth or 
gravel. The town is lighted with gas, and furnished with excel- 
lent water by an aqueduct. 


On a closer view of the Capitol, a bold deviation from the 
Grecian model is very noticeable. The southern portico is 
sustained upon a very high blank wall, and is as inaccessible 
from the exterior as if it had been intended to fortify the edifice 
from all ingress other than by scaling-ladders. On coming round 
to the west side, however, which is without a colonnade, a grand 
entrance, reached by a heavy buttress of stone steps, is found. 
This incongruity diminishes, in some degree, the usual inconveni- 
ence of the Greek temple for modern public purposes, for it gives 
speedy access to a small central rotunda, out of which doors 
open into the legislative halls and offices. 


If the walling up of the legitimate entrance has caused the 
impression, in a stranger, that he is being led to a prison or 
fortress, instead of the place for transacting the public business 
of a free State by its chosen paid agents, it is not removed when, 
on approaching this side door, he sees before it an armed 
sentinel — a meek-looking man in a livery of many colors, em- 
barrassed with a bright bayonetted firelock, which he hugs 
gently, as though the cold iron, this frosty day, chilled his 


He belongs to the Public Guard of Virginia, I am told ; a com- 
pany of a hundred men (more or less), enlisted under an Act of 
the State, passed in 1801, after a rebellion of the colored people, 
who, under one " General Gabriel," attempted to take the town, 
in hopes to gain the means of securing their freedom. Having 
been betrayed by a traitor, as insurgent slaves almost always are, 
they were met, on their approach, by a large body of well-armed 
militia, hastily called out by the Governor. For this, being 
armed only with scythe-blades, they were unprepared, and 
immediately dispersed. "General Gabriel" and the other 
leaders, one after another, were captured, tried, and hanged, the 
militia in strong force guarding them to execution. Since then, 
a disciplined guard, bearing the warning motto, "Sic semper 
tyrannis /"* has been kept constantly under arms in the capital, 
and no man can enter the legislative temple of Virginia without 
being reminded that "Eternal vigilance is the price of ." 

The gentleman who gave me the substance of this information, 
spoke of the Guard with an admiring and gratulatory tone, as 
"our little army." "But how is that?" I inquired; "does not 
our federal Constitution require that no State shall keep troops in 
time of peace? Is not your little army unconstitutional?" 

I could get no satisfactory reply ; I fear it was hardly in good 
taste, under the circumstances, to make such an inquiry of a 
Virginia democrat. 


It was not till I had passed the guard, unchallenged, and 
stood at the door-way, that I perceived that the imposing edi- 
fice, as I had thought it at a distance, was nothing but a cheap 

* " So ever to tyrants," the motto on the seal of Virginia. 


stuccoed building ; nor would anything short of test by touch, 
have convinced me that the great state of Virginia would have 
been so long content with such a parsimonious pretense of dig- 
nity as is found in imitation granite and imitation marble. 

There is an instance of parsimony, without pretense, in Eicb 
mond, which Euskin, himself, if he were a traveler, could not be 
expected to applaud. The rail-road company which brings the 
traveler from Washington, so far from being open to the criticism 
of having provided edifices of a style of architecture only fitted 
for palaces, instead of a hall suited to conflicts with hackney- 
coachmen, actually has no sort of stationary accommodations for 
them at all, but sets them down, rain or shine, in the middle of 
one of the main streets. The adjoining hucksteries, barbers' - 
shops, and bar-rooms, are evidently all the better patronized 
for this fine simplicity ; but I should doubt if the rail-road 
stock would be much advanced in value by it. 


In the rotunda of the Capitol stands Houdons statue of Wash- 
ington. It was modeled from life, and is said to present the 
truest similitude of the American Great Man that is retained 
for posterity. The face has a lofty, serene, slightly saddened 
expression, as that of a strong, sensible man loaded, but not 
over-burdened, with cares and anxiety. A self-reliant, brave, 
able soul, with deep but subdued sympathies, comprehending 
great duties, calmly and confidently prepared to perform them. 
There is very little like a king, or a clergyman, or any other 
professional character-actor in it. In most of the portraits 
of Washington, he looks as if he were a great tragedian, or a 
high-priest ; but this is a face that would satisfy and encourage 


one in the engine-driver of a lightning train, or the officer of 
the deck in a fog off Cape Kace ; far-seeing, vigilant and fervid, 
but composed and perfectly controlled — the face of a man, 
wherever you found him — as a sailor, or a schoolmaster, or 
a judge, or a general — that you could depend upon to perform 
his undertakings conscientiously. The figure is not good; it 
struts, and has an air of nonchalance and ungentlemanly assump- 
tion. This was the fashion of the age, however, and education 
may have given it to the man, though his character, as seen with 
certainty in his face, is far superior to it. 


The grounds about the Capitol are naturally admirable, and 
have lately been improved with neatness and taste. Their beauty 
and interest would be greatly increased if more of the fine native 
trees and shrubs of Virginia, particularly the holly and the ever- 
green magnolias, were planted in them. I noticed these, as well 
as the Irish and palmated ivy, growing, with great vigor and 
beauty, in the private gardens of the town. On some high, sterile 
lands, of which there are several thousand acres, uninclosed and 
uncultivated, near the town, I saw a group of exceedingly.beauti- 
ful trees, having the lively green and all the lightness, graceful- 
ness and beauty of foliage, in the Winter, of the finest deciduous 
trees. I could not belieye, until I came near them, that they 
were what I found them to be — our common red cedar (Juni- 
perus Virginiana). I have frequently noticed that the beauty of 
this tree is greatly affected by the soil it stands in ; in certain 
localities, on the Hudson river, for instance, and in the lower part 
of New Jersey, it grows in a perfectly dense, conical, cypress- 
like form. These, on the other hand, were square-headed, dense, 


flattened at the top, like the cedar of Lebanon, and with a light 
and slightly drooping spray, deliciously delicate and graceful, 
where it cut the light. They stood in a soil of small quartz 
gravel, slightly bound with red clay. In a soil of similar appear- 
ance at the North, cedars are usually thin, stiff, shabby, and dull 
in color. I notice that they are generally finer here, than we 
often see them under the best of circumstances ; and I presume 
they are better suited in climate. 


On a Sunday afternoon I met a negro funeral procession, and 
followed after it to the place of burial. There was a decent 
hearse, of the usual style, drawn by two horses ; six hackney 
coaches followed it, and six well-dressed men, mounted on hand- 
some saddle-horses, and riding them well, rode in the rear 
of these. Twenty or thirty men and women were also walking 
together with the procession, on the side-walk. Among all there 
was not a white person. 

Passing out into the country, a little beyond the principal 
cemetery of the city (a neat, rural ground, well filled with monu 
ments and evergreens), the hearse halted at a desolate place, 
where a dozen colored people were already engaged heaping the 
earth over the grave of a child, and singing a wild kind of 
chant. Another grave was already dug, immediately adjoining 
that of the child, both being near the foot of a hill, in a crumbling 
bank — the ground below being already occupied, and the graves 
advancing in irregular terraces up the hill-side — an arrangement 
which facilitated Jabor. 

The new comers, setting the coffin — which was neatly made of 
stained pine — upon the grp-und, joined in the labor and the sing- 


ing, with the preceding party, until a small mound of earth was 
made over the grave of the child. When this was completed, 
one of those who had heen handling a spade, sighed deeply and 

"Lord Jesus have marcy on us — now! you Jim — you! see 
yar; you jes lay dat yar shovel cross dat grave — so fash — 
dah — yes, dat's right." 

A shovel and a hoe-handle having been laid across the 
unfilled grave, the coffin was brought and laid upon them, as 
on a trestle ; after which, lines were passed under it, by Avhich it 
was lowered to the bottom. 

Most of the company were of a very poor appearance, rude 
and unintelligent, but there 'were several neatly-dressed and very 
good-looking men. One of these now stepped to the head of the 
grave, and, after a few sentences of prayer, held a handkerchief 
before him as if it were a book, and pronounced a short exhorta- 
tion, as if he were reading from it. His manner was earnest, 
and the tone of his voice solemn and impressive, except that, 
occasionally, it would break into a shout or kind of howl at the 
close of a long sentence. I noticed several women near him, 
weeping, and one sobbing intensely. I was deeply influenced 
myself by the unaffected feeling, in connection with the simplicity, 
natural, rude truthfulness, and absence of all attempt at formal 
decorum in the crowd. 

I never in my life, however, heard such ludicrous language 
as was sometimes uttered by the speaker. Frequently I 
could not guess the idea he was intending to express. Some- 
times it was evident that he was trying to repeat phrases that 
he had heard used before, on similar occasions, but which he 

made absurd by some interpolation or distortion of a word; 



thus, " We do not see the end here ! oh no, my friends ! there 
■will be a putrificaticm of this body !" the context fairing to indicate 
whether he meant purification or putrefaction, and leaving it 
doubtful if he attached any definite meaning to the word himself. 
He quoted from the Bible several times, several times from hymns, 
always introducing the latter with " in the words of the poet, my 
brethren ;" he once used the same form, before a verse from the 
New Testament, and once qualified his citation by saying, " I 
believe the Bible says that;" in which he was right, having 
repeated words of Job. 

He concluded by throwing a handful of earth on the 
coffin, repeating the usual words, slightly disarranged, and 
then took a shovel, and, with the aid of six or seven others, 
proceeded very rapidly to fill the grave. Another man had, 
in the mean time, stepped into the place he had first occupied at 
the head of the grave ; an old negro, with a very singularly 
distorted face, who raised a hymn, which soon became a confused 
chant — the leader singing a few words alone, and the company 
then either repeating them after him or making a response to 
them, in the manner of sailors heaving at the windlass. I 
could understand but very few of the words. The music was 
wild and barbarous, but not without a plaintive melody. A new 
leader took the place of the old man, when his breath gave out 
(he had sung very hard, with much bending of the body and 
gesticulation), and continued until the grave was filled, and 
a mound raised over it. 

A man had, in the mean time, gone into a ravine near 
by, and now returned with two small branches, hung with 
withered leaves, that he had broken off a beech tree ; these 
were placed upright, one at the head, the other at the foot 


of the grave. A few sentences of prayer were then repeated 
in a low voice by one of the company, and all dispersed. No 
one seemed to notice my presence at all. There were about fifty 
colored people in the assembly, and but one other white man 
besides myself. This man lounged against the fence, outside 
the crowd, an apparently indifferent spectator, and I judged he was 
a police officer, or some one procured to witness the funeral, in 
compliance with the law which requires that a white man shall 
always be present at any meeting, for religious exercises, of the 
negroes, to destroy the opportunity of their conspiring to gain 
their freedom. 


The greater part of the colored people, on Sunday, seemed to 
be dressed in the cast-off fine clothes of the white people, received, 
I suppose, as presents, or purchased of the Jews, whose shops 
show that there must be considerable importation of such articles, 
probably from the ISTorth, as there is from England into Ireland. 
Indeed, the lowest class, especially among the younger, remind 
me much, by their dress, of the " lads" of Donnybrook ; and when 
the funeral procession came to its destination, there was a scene 
precisely like that you may see every day in Sackville-street, 
Dublin, — a dozen boys in ragged clothes, originally made for 
tall men, and rather folded round their bodies than worn, striving 
who should hold the horses of the gentlemen when they dismounted 
to attend the interment of the body. Many, who had probably 
come in from the farms near the town, wore clothing of coarse 
gray "negro-cloth," that appeared as if made by contract, without 
regard to the size of the particular individual to whom it had 
been allotted, like penitentiary uniforms. A few had a better suit 


of coarse blue cloth, expressly made for them evidently, for 
" Sunday clothes." 


Some were dressed with laughably foppish extravagance, 
and a great many in clothing of the most expensive materials, 
and in the latest style of fashion. In what I suppose to be the 
fashionable streets, there were many more well-dressed and 
highly-dressed colored people than white, and among this dark 
gentry the finest French cloths, embroidered waistcoats, patent- 
leather shoes, resplendent brooches, silk hats, kid gloves, and eau 
de mille fleurs, were quite as common as among the New York " dry- 
goods clerks," in their Sunday promenades, in Broadway. Nor was 
the fairer, or rather the softer sex, at all left in the shade of this 
splendor. Many of the colored ladies were dressed not only 
expensively, but with good taste and effect, after the latest 
Parisian mode. Many of them were quite attractive in appear- 
ance, and some would have produced a decided sensation in any 
European drawing-room. Their walk and carriage was more 
often stylish and graceful than that of the white ladies who were 
out. About one quarter seemed to me to have lost all distin- 
guishingly African peculiarity of feature, and to have acquired, in 
place of it, a good deal of that voluptuousness of expression 
which characterizes many of the women of the south of Europe. 
I was especially surprised to notice the frequency of thin, aquiline 


There was no indication of their belonging to a subject race, 
but that they invariably gave the way to the white people they 
met. Once, when two of them, engaged in conversation and 


looking at each other, had not noticed, his approach, I saw a 
Virginia gentleman lift his cane and push a woman aside with it. 
In the evening I saw three rowdies, arm-in-arm, taking the whole 
of the sidewalk, hustle a Hack man off it, giving him a blow, as 
they passed, that sent him staggering into the middle of the 
street. As he recovered himself he began to call out to, and threaten 
them. Perhaps he saw me stop, and thought I should support 
him, as I was certainly inclined to : " can't you find anything 
else to do than to be knockin' quiet people round! You jus' 
come back here, will you? Here, you! don't care if you is 
ivhite. You jus' come back here and I'll teach you how to 
behave — knockin' people round ! — don't care if I does hab to go 
to der watch-house." They passed on without noticing him 
further, only laughing jeeringly — and he continued : " You come 
back here and I'll make you laugh ; you is jus' three white 
nigger cowards, dat's what you be." 

I observe, in the newspapers, complaints of growing insolence 
and insubordination among the negroes, arising, it is thought, from 
too many privileges being permitted them by their masters, and 
from too merciful administration of the police laws with regard to 
them. Except in this instance, however, I have seen not the 
slightest evidence of any independent manliness on the part of the 
negroes towards the whites. As far as I have yet observed, they 
are treated very kindly and even generously as servants, but 
their manner to white people is invariably either sullen, jocose, or 

The pronunciation and dialect of the negroes, here, is gene- 
rally much more idiomatic and peculiar than with us. As I 
write, I hear a man shouting, slowly and deliberately, meaning 
to say there : dah ! dah ! dah ! 



Yesterday morning, during a cold, sleety storm, against which 
I was struggling, with my umbrella, to the post office, I met a 
comfortably-dressed negro leading three others by a rope; the 
first was a middle-aged man; the second a girl of, perhaps, 
twenty; and the last a boy, considerably younger. The arms 
of all three were secured before them with hand-cuffs, and the 
rope by which they were led passed from one to another ; being 
made fast at each pair of hand-cuffs." They were thinly clad, 
the girl especially so, having only an old ragged handkerchief 
around her neck, over a common calico dress, and another 
handkerchief twisted around her head. They were dripping 
wet, and icicles were forming, at the time, on the awning bars. 

The boy looked most dolefully, and the girl was turning 
around, with a very angry face, and shouting, "0 pshaw! 
Shut up!" 

"What are they?" said I, to a white man, who had also 
stopped, for a moment, to look at them. " What's he going to 
do with them?" 

" Come in a canal boat, I reckon : sent down here to be sold. 
— That ar's a likely gall." 

Our ways lay together, and I asked further explanation. 
He informed me that the negro-dealers had confidential servants 
always in attendance, on the arrival of the rail-road trains and 
canal packets, to take any negroes, that might have come, 
consigned to them, and bring them to their marts. 

Nearly opposite the post office, was another singular group 
of negroes. They were all men and boys, and each carried a 
coarse, white blanket, drawn together at the corners so as to 
hold some articles ; probably, extra clothes. They stood in a 


row, in lounging attitudes, and some of them, again, were 
quarreling, or reproving one another. A villainous-looking 
white man stood in front of them. Presently, a stout, respectable 
man, dressed in black according to the custom, and without any 
overcoat or umbrella, but with a large, golden-headed walking- 
stick, came out of the door of an office, and, without saying a 
word, walked briskly up the street; the negroes immediately 
followed, in file; the other white man bringing up the rear. 
They were slaves that had been sent into the town to be hired 
out as servants or factory hands. The gentleman in black was, 
probably, the broker in the business. 

Near the post office, opposite a large livery and sale stable, 
I turned into a short, broad street, in which were a number of 
establishments, the signs on which indicated that they were 
occupied by " Slave Dealers," and that " Slaves, for Sale or to 
Hire," were to be found within them. They were much like 
Intelligence Offices, being large rooms partly occupied by 
ranges of forms, on which sat a few comfortably and neatly clad 
negroes, who appeared perfectly cheerful ; each grinning obsequi- 
ously, but with a manifest interest or anxiety, when I fixed my 
eye on them for a moment. 

In Chambers' Journal for October, 1853, there is an account 
of. the Richmond slave marts, and the manner of conducting 
business in them, so graphic and evidently truthful that I 
omit any further narration of my own observations, to make 
room for it. I do this, notwithstanding its. lengthy because I 
(hd__not happen to witness, during fourteen months that I 
spent in the Slave States, any sale of negroes by auction. 
This must not be taken as an indication that negro auctions 
are not of frequent occurrence (I did not, so far as I now 


recollect, witness the sale of anything else, at auction, at 
the South). I saw negroes advertised to be sold at auction, 
very frequently. 

" The exposure of ordinary goods in a store is not more open to 
the public than are the sales of slaves in Richmond. By consulting 
the local newspapers, I learned that the sales take place by auction 
every morning in the offices of certain brokers, who, as I understood 
by the terms of their advertisements, purchased or received slaves 
for sale on commission. 

"Where the street was in which the brokers conducted their busi- 
ness, I did not know ; but the discovery was easily made. Ram- 
bling down the main street in the city, I found that the subject of my 
search was a narrow and short thoroughfare, turning off to the left, 
and terminating in a similar cross thoroughfare. Both streets, lined 
with brick-houses, were dull and silent. There was not a person to 
whom I could put a question. Looking about, I observed the office 
of a commission-agent, and into it I stepped. Conceive the idea of 
a large shop with two windows, and a door between ; no shelving or 
counters inside ; the interior a spacious, dismal apartment, not well 
swept ; the only furniture a desk at one of the windows, and a bench 
at one side of the shop, three feet high, with two steps to it from 
the floor. I say, conceive the idea of this dismal-looking place, 
With nobody in it but three negro children, who, as I entered, were 
playing at auctioneering each other. An intensely black little negro, 
of four or five years of age, was standing on the bench, or block, as 
it is called, with an equally black girl, about a year younger, by his 
side, whom he was pretending to sell by bids to another black child, 
who was rolling about the floor. 

" My appearance did not interrupt the merriment. The little 
auctioneer continued his mimic play, and aj>peared to enjoy the joke 
of selling the girl, who stood demurely by his side. 

" ' Fifty dolla for de gal — fifty dolla — fifty dolla — I sell dis here 
fine gal for fifty dolla,' was uttered with extraordinary volubility by 
the woolly-headed urchin, accompanied with appropriate gestures, 
in imitation, doubtless of the scenes he had seen enacted daily in 
the spot. I spoke a few words to the little creatures, but was 
scarcely understood ; and the fun went on as if I had not been pres- 


ent : so I left them, happy in rehearsing what was likely soon to be 
their own fate. 

" At another office of a similar character, on the opposite side of 
the street, I was more successful. Here, on inquiry, I was respect- 
fully informed, by a person in attendance, that the sale would take 
place the following morning at half-past nine o'clock. 

" Next day I set out accordingly, after breakfast, for the scene of 
operations, in which there was now a little more life. Two or three 
persons were lounging about, smoking cigars ; and, looking along 
the street, I observed that three red flags were projected from the 
doors of those offices in which sales were to occur. On each flag 
was pinned a piece of paper, notifying the articles to be sold. The 
number of lots was not great. On the first was the following an- 
nouncement: — ' Will be sold this morning, at half-past nine o'clock, 
a Man and a Boy.' 

" It was already the appointed hour ; but as no company had as- 
sembled, I entered and took a seat by the fire. The office, provided 
with a few deal forms and chairs, a desk at one of the windows, and 
a block accessible by a few steps, was tenantless, save by a gentle- 
man who was arranging papers at the desk, and to whom I had ad- 
dressed myself on the previous evening. Minute after minute passed, 
and still nobody entered. There was clearly no hurry in going to 
business. I felt almost like an intruder, and had formed the resolu- 
tion of departing, in order to look into the other offices, when the per- 
son referred to left his desk, and came and seated himself opposite 
to me at the fire. 

" ' You are an Englishman,' said he, looking me steadily in the 
face ; ' do you want to purchase ?' 

" ' Yes,' I replied, ' I am an Englishman ; but I do not intend to 
purchase. I am traveling about for information, and I shall feel 
obliged by your letting me know the prices at which negro servants 
are sold.' s 

"' I will do so with much pleasure,' was the answer; 'do you 
mean field-hands or house-servants ?' 

" ' All kinds,' I replied ; ' I wish to get all the information I can. 

"With much politeness, the gentleman stepped to his desk, and 
began to draw up a note of prices. This, however, seemed to re- 
quire careful consideration ; and while the note was preparing, a 
lanky person, in a wide-awake hat, and chewing tobacco, entered, 


and took the chair just vacated. He had scarcely seated himself, 
when, on looking towards the door, I observed the subjects of sale — 
the man and boy indicated by the paper on the red flag — enter to- 
gether, and quietly walk to a form at the back of the shop, whence, 
as the day was chilly, they edged themselves towards the fire, in 
the corner where I was seated. I was now between the two parties — 
the white man on the right, and the old and young negro on the 
Left — and I waited to see what would take place. 

" The sight of the negroes at once attracted the attention of Wide- 
awake. Cbewing with vigor, he kept keenly eying the pair, as if to 
see what they were good for. Under this searching gaze, the man 
and boy were a little abashed, but said nothing. Their appearance 
had little of the repulsiveness we are apt to associate with the idea 
of slaves. They were dressed in a gray woolen coat, pants, and 
waistcoat, colored cotton neckcloths, clean shirts, coarse woolen 
stockings, and stout shoes. The man wore a black hat ; the boy 
was bareheaded. Moved by a sudden impulse, Wide-awake left his 
seat, and rounding the back of my chair, began to grasp at the 
man's arms, as if to feel their muscular capacity. He then examined 
his hands and fingers ; and, last of all, told him to open his mouth 
and show his teeth, which he did in a submissive manner. Having 
finished these examinations, Wide-awake resumed his seat, and 
chewed on in silence as before. 

" I thought it was but fair that I should now have my turn of in- 
vestigation, and accordingly asked the elder negro what was his age. 
He said he did not know. I next inquired how old the boy was. 
He said he was seven years of age. On asking the man if the boy 
was his son, he said he was not — he was his cousin. I was going 
into other particulars, when the office-keeper approached, and hand- 
ed me the note he had been preparing ; at the same time making 
the observation that the market was dull at present, and that there 
never could be a more favorable opportunity of buying. I thanked 
him for the trouble which he had taken ; and now submit a copy of 
his price-current : 

• Best Men, 18 to 25 years old, . . 1200 to 1300 dollars. 
Fair do. do. do., . . . 950 to 1050 " 

Boys, 5 feet 850 to 950 " 

Do., 4 feet 8 inches 700 to 800 " 

Do., 4 feet 5 inches, . . . 500 to 600 " 


Boy3, 4 feet, 375 to 450 dollars. 

Young Women, 800 to 1000 " 

Girls, 5 feet, 750 to 850 " 

Do., 4 feet 9 inches, .... 700 to 750 " 

Do., 4 feet, 350 to 452 " 

' (Signed) , 

Richmond, Virginia.' 

" Leaving this document for future consideration, I pass on to a 
nistory of the day's proceedings. It was now ten minutes to ten 
o'clock, and Wide-awake and I being alike tired of waiting, we went 
off in quest of sales further up the street. Passing the second office, 
in which also nobody was to be seen, we were more fortunate at the 
third. Here, according to the announcement, on the paper stuck to the 
flag, there were to be sold, ' A woman and three children ; a young 
woman, three men, a middle-aged woman, and a little boy.' Already 
a crowd had met, composed, I should think, of persons mostly from 
the cotton-plantations of the south. A few were seated near a fire 
on the right-hand side, and others stood round an iron stove in tho 
middle of the apartment. The whole place had a dilapidated ap- 
pearance. From a back-window, there was a view into a ruinous 
court-yard ; beyond which, in a hollow, accessible by a side-lane, 
stood a shabby brick -house, on which the word Jail was inscribed 
in large black letters on a white ground. I imagined it to be a depot 
for the reception of negroes. 

"On my arrival, and while making these preliminary observa- 
tions, the lots for sale had not made their appearance. In about 
five minutes afterwards they were ushered in, one after the other, 
under the charge of a mulatto, who seemed to act as principal as- 
sistant. I saw no whips, chains, or any other engine of force. Nor 
did such appear to be required. All the lots took their seats on two 
long forms near the stove ; none showed any signs of resistance ; 
nor did any one utter a word. Their manner was that of perfect 
humility and resignation. 

" As soon as all were seated, there was a general examination of 
their respective merits, by feeling their arms, looking into their 
mouths, and investigating the quality of their hands and fingers — 
this last being evidently an important particular. Yet there was no 
abrupt rudeness in making these examinations — no coarse or domi- 
neering language was employed. The three negro men were dressed 



in the usual manner — in gray woolen clothing. The woman, with 
three children, excited my peculiar attention. She was neatly at- 
tired, with a colored handkerchief bound around her head, and wore 
a white apron over her gown. Her children were all girls, one of 
them a baby at the breast three months old, and the others two and 
three years of age respectively, rigged out with clean white pina- 
fores. There was not a tear or an emotion visible in the whole 
party. Everything seemed to be considered as a matter of course ; 
and the change of owners was possibly looked forward to with as 
much indifference as ordinary hired servants anticipate a removal 
from one employer to another. 

" While intending-purchasers were proceeding with personal ex- 
aminations of the several lots, I took the liberty of putting a few 
questions to the mother of the children. The following was our 
conversation : — 

" ' Are you a married woman ?' 

4i ' Yes, sir.' 

" ' How many children have you had V 

" ' Seven.' 

" ' Where is your husband?' 

" ' In Madison county.' 

" ' When did you part from him V 

" ' On Wednesday — two days ago.' 

" ' Were you sorry to part from him ?' 

" ' Yes, sir,' she replied, with a deep sigh ; ' my heart was a'most 

" ' Why is your master selling you ?' 

" ' I don't know — he wants money to buy some land — suppose he 
sells me for that.' 

" There might not be a word of truth in these answers, for I had 
no means of testing their correctness ; but the woman seemed to 
speak unreservedly, and I am inclined to think that she said nothing 
but what, if necessary, could be substantiated. I spoke, also, to 
the young woman who was seated near her. She, like the others, 
was perfectly black, and appeai-ed stout and healthy, of which some 
of the persons present assured themselves by feeling her arms and 
ankles, looking into her mouth, and causing her to stand up. She 
told me she had several brothers and sisters, but did not know where 
they were. She said she was a house-servant, and would be glad to 


be bought by a good master — looking at me, as if I should not b« 
unacceptable. ^ 

" I have said that there was an entire absence of emotion in the \ 
party of men, women, and children, thus seated preparatory to being / 
sold. This does not correspond with the ordinary accounts „©£ 
slave-sales, which are represented as tearful and harrowing:'' My 
belief is, that none of the parties felt deeply on the subject, or at 
least that any distress they experienced was but momentary — soon 
passed away, and was forgotten. One of my reasons for this opin- 
ion rests on a trifling incident which occurred. While waiting for 
the commencement of the sale, one of the gentlemen present amused 
himself with a pointer-dog, which, at command, stood on its hind- 
legs, and took pieces of bread from his pocket. These tricks great- 
ly entertained the row of negroes, old and young; and the poor wo- 
man, whose heart three minutes before was almost broken, now 
laughed as heartily as any one. 

" ' Sale is going to commence — this way, gentlemen,' cried a man 
at the door to a number of loungers outside ; and all having assem- 
bled, the mulatto assistant led the woman and her children to the 
block, which he helped her to mount. There she stood with her in- 
fant at the breast, and one of her girls at each side. The auction- 
eer, a handsome, gentlemanly personage, took his place, with one 
foot on an old deal chair with a broken back, and the other raised 
on the somewhat more elevated block. It was a striking scene. 

" ' Well, gentlemen,' began the salesman, 'here is a capital wo- 
man and her three children, all in good health — what do you say for 
them? Give me an offer. (Nobody speaks.) I put.up the whole 
lot at 850 dollars— 850 dollars — 850 dollars (speaking very fast) — 
850 dollars. Will no one advance upon that ? A very extraordi- 
nary bargain, gentlemen. A fine, healthy baby. Hold it up. (Mu- 
latto goes up the first step of the block ; takes the baby from the 
woman's breast, and holds it aloft with one hand, so as to show that 
it was a veritable sucking baby.) That will do. A woman, still 
young, and three children, all for 850 dollars. An advance, if you 
please, gentlemen. (A voice bids 860.) Thank you, sir, 860; any 
one bids more? (A second voice says, 870; and so on the bidding 
goes as far as 890 dollars, when it stops.) That won't do, gentle- 
men. I cannot take such a low price. (After a pause, addressing 
the mulatto) : She may go down.' Down from the block the woman 


and her children were therefore conducted by the assistant, and, as 
if nothing had occurred, they calmly resumed their seats by the 

" The next lot brought forward was one of the men. The mulat- 
to, beckoning to him with his hand, requested him to come behind a 
canvas screen, of two leaves, which was standing near the back 
window. The man placidly rose, and having been placed behind the 
screen, was ordered to take off his clothes, which he did without a 
word or look of remonstrance. About a dozen gentlemen crowded 
to the spot while the poor fellow was stripping himself, and as soon 
as he stood on the floor, bare from top to toe, a most rigorous scru- 
tiny of his person was instituted. The clear black skin, back and 
front, was viewed all over for sores from disease ; and there was no 
part of his body left unexamined. The man was told to open and 
shut his hands, asked if he could pick cotton, and every tooth in his 
head was scrupulously looked at. The investigation being at an 
end, he was ordered to dress himself ; and having done so, was re- 
quested to walk to the block. 

The ceremony of offering him for competition was gone through 
as before, but no one would bid. The other two men, after under- 
going similar examinations behind the screen, were also put up, but 
with the same result. Nobody would bid for them, and they were 
all sent back to their seats. It seemed as if the company had con- 
spired not to buy anything that day. Probably some imperfections 
had been detected in the personal qualities of the negroes. Be this 
as it may, the auctioneer, perhaps a little out of temper from his 
want of success, walked off to his desk, and the affair was so far at 
an end. 

" 'This way, gentlemen — this way !' was heard from a voice out- 
side, and the company immediately hived off to the second estab- 
lishment. At this office there was a young woman, and also a man, 
for sale. The woman was put up first at 500 dollars ; and possess- 
ing some recommendable qualities, the bidding for her was run as 
high as 710 dollars, at which she was knocked down to a purchaser. 
The man, after the customary examination behind the screen, was 
put up at 700 dollars ; but a small imperfection having been ob- 
served in his person, no one would bid for him ; and he was ordered 

*' ' This way, gentlemen, this way — down the street, if you please !' 


was now shouted by a person in the employment of the first firm, to 
whose office all very willingly adjourned — one migratory company, 
it will be perceived, serving all the slave-auctions in the place. 
Mingling in the crowd, I went to see what should be the fate of the 
man and boy, with whom I had already had some communication. 

" There the pair, the two cousins, sat by the fire, just where I 
had left them an hour ago. The boy was put up first. 

"'Come along, my man — jump up; there's a good boy!' said 
one of the partners, a bulky and respectable-looking person, with a 
gold chain and bunch of seals ; at the same time getting on the 
block. With alacrity the little fellow came forward, and, mounting 
the steps, stood by his side. The forms in front were filled by the 
company ; and as I seated myself, I found that my old companion, 
Wide-awake, was close at hand, still chewing and spitting at a great 

" ' Now, gentlemen,' said the auctioneer, putting his hand on the 
shoulder of the boy, ' here is a very fine boy, seven years of age, 
warranted sound — what do you say for him ? I put him up at 500 
dollars — 500 dollars (speaking quick, his right hand raised up, and 
coming down on the open palm of his left) — 500 dollars. Any one 
say more than 500 dollars ? (560 is bid.) 560 dollars. Nonsense ! 
Just look at him. See how high he is. (He draws the lot in front 
of him, and shows that the little fellow's head comes up to his 
breast.) You see he is a fine, tall, healthy boy. Look at his 

" Several step forward, and cause the boy to open and shut 
his hands — the flexibility of the small fingers, black on the one side, 
and whitish on the other, being well looked to. The hands, and also 
the mouth, having given satisfaction, an advance is made to 570, 
then to 580 dollars. 

" ' Gentlemen, that is a very poor price for a boy of this size. 
(Addressing the lot) — Go down, my boy, and show them how you 
can run.' 

" The boy, seemingly happy to do as he was bid, went down from 
the block, and ran smartly across the floor several times ; the eyes 
of every one in the room following him. 

" ' Now that will do. Get up again. (Boy mounts the block, 
the steps being rather deep for his short legs ; but the auctioneer 
kindly lends him a hand.) Come, gentleman, you see this is a first- 


rate lot. (590—600—610—620—630 dollars are bid.) I will sell 
him for 630 dollars. (Right hand coming down on left.) Last call. 
630 dollars, once — 630 dollars, twice. (A pause ; hand sinks.) 
gone !' 

" The boy having descended, the man was desired to come for- 
ward ; and after the usual scrutiny behind a screen, he took his 
place on the block. 

"'Well, now, gentlemen,' said the auctioneer, 'here is a right 
prime lot. Look at this man ; strong, healthy, able-bodied ; could 
not be a better hand for field-work. He can drive a wagon, or any- 
thing. What do you say for him ? I offer the man at the low price 
of 800 dollars — he is well worth 1200 dollars. Come, make an ad- 
vance, if you please. 800 dollars said for the man (a bid), thank 
you; 810 dollars— 810 dollars— 810 dollars (several bids)— 820— 
830 — 850 — 860 — going at 860 — going. Gentlemen, this is far below 
his value. A strong-boned man, fit for any kind of heavy work. 
Just take a look at him. (Addressing the lot) : Walk down. Lot 
dismounts, and walks from one side of the shop to the other. When 
about to reascend the block, a gentleman, who is smoking a cigar, 
examines his mouth with his fingers. Lot resumes his place.) Pray, 
gentlemen, be quick (continues the auctioneer) ; I must sell him, 
and 860 dollars are only bid for the man — 860 dollars. (A fresh run 
of bids to 945 dollars.) 945 dollars, once, 945 dollars, twice (look- 
ing slowly round, to see if all were done), 945 dollars, going — going 
— (hand drops) — gone !' 

" Such were a forenoon's experiences in the slave-market of Rich- 
mond. Everything is described precisely as it occurred, Avithout 
passion or prejudice. It would not have been difficult to be senti- 
mental on a subject which appeals so strongly to the feelings ; but I 
have preferred telling the simple truth. In a subsequent chapter, I 
shall endeavor to offer some general views of slavery in its social 
and political relations. 

" W. C." 



This morning I visited a farm, some account of which will 
give a good idea of the more advanced mode of agriculture in 
Eastern Virginia. It is situated on the bank of James River, 


and has ready access, by water or land-carriage, to the town of 
Eichmond. ■ 

The soil of the greater part is a red, plastic, clayey loam, of a 
medium or low fertility, with a large intermixture of small quartz 
pebbles. On the river bank is a tract of low alluvial land, vary- 
ing from an eighth to a quarter of a mile in breadth. The soil 
of this is a sandy loam, of the very finest quality in every respect, 
and it has been discovered, in some places, to be over ten feet in 
thickness ; at which depth the sound trunk of a white oak has 
been found, showing it to be a recent deposit. I was assured 
that good crops of corn, wheat, and clover, had been taken from 
it, without its giving any indications of "wearing out," although 
no manure, except an occasional dressing of lime, had ever been 
returned to it. Maize, wheat, and clover for two years, usually 
occupy the ground, in succession, both on upland and lowland, 
herd's-grass (red-top of New York), sometimes taking the place 
of the clover, or being grown with it for hay, in which case the 
ground remains in sward for several years. Oats are sometimes 
also introduced, but the yield is said to be very small. 

Hay always brings a high price in Eichmond, and is usually 
shipped to that market from the eastward. This year, however, 
it is but a trifle above New York prices, and the main supply is 
drawn from this vicinity. I notice that^oats, in the straw, are 
brought, in considerable quantity, to Eichmond, for horse-feed, 
from the surrounding country. It is often pressed in bales, like 
hay, and sells for about the same price. At present, hay, brought 
from New York in bales, is selling at $1 25 to $1 50 per cwt. ; 
oats, in straw, the same; oats, by the bushel, 40 to 50 cents; 
maize, 66 to 70 cents; wheat straw, 75 cents per cwt.; maize 
leaves (" corn fodder "), 75 cents per cwt. 


Wheat, notwithstanding these high prices of forage crops, is 
considered the most important crop of the farm. The practice is 
to cut the maize (which is grown on much the same plan as is 
usual in New York) at the root, stook it in rows upon the field, 
plow the lands between the rows (one way) and drill in wheat 
with a horse drilling machine : then remove the stooks of maize 
into the sown ground, and prepare the intervening lands in like 
manner. The maize is afterwards husked in the field, at leisure, 
and carted off, with the stalks, when the ground is frozen. 
Sometimes the seed-wheat is sown by hand on the fresh-plowed 
ground, and harrowed in. In the spring, clover-seed is sown by 
hand. The wheat is reaped by either Hussey's or M'Cormick's 
machine, both being used on the farm, but Hussey's rather 
preferred, as less liable to get out of order, and, if slightly 
damaged, more readily repaired by the slave blacksmith on 
the farm. 

Lime is frequently applied, commonly at the time of wheat- 
sowing, at the rate of from twenty-five to fifty bushels an acre. 
It is brought, by sea, from Haverstraw, New York, at a cost, 
delivered on the farm, of 1\ to 7-J cents a bushel. Plaster (sul- 
phate of lime) has been tried, with little or no perceptible effect 
on the crops. 

Dung, largely accumulated from the farm stock, is applied 
almost exclusively to the maize crops. Guano is also largely 
used as an application for wheat. After trying greater and less 
quantities, the proprietor has arrived at the conclusion that 
200 lbs. to the acre is most profitable. It will, hereafter, be 
applied, at that rate, to all the wheat grown upon the farm. It. 
has also been used with advantage for ruta baga. For corn, it 
was not thought of much value ; the greatest advantage had been 


obtained by applying it to the poorest land of the farm, some of 
which was of so small fertility, and at such a distance from the cattle 
quarters and the river, that it could not be profitably cultivated, and 
had been at waste for many years. I understand this may be the case 
with half the land included in the large farms or plantations of 
this part of the country. Two hundred weight of Peruvian guano 
to the acre brought fifteen bushels of wheat ; and a good crop of 
clover was perfectly sure to follow, by which the permanent 
improvement of the soil could be secured. This the proprietor 
esteemed to be the greatest benefit he derived from guano, 
and he is pursuing a regular plan for bringing all his more 
sterile upland into the system of Convertible husbandry by its 

This plan is, to prepare the ground, by fallowing, for wheat ; 
spread 200 pounds of guano, broadcast, on the harrowed surface, 
and turn it under, as soon as possible after the sowers, with a 
"two-shovel plow" (a sort of large two-shared cultivator, which 
could only be used, I should think, on very light, clean soils), 
the wheat either being sown and covered with the guano, or, 
immediately afterwards, drilled in with a horse-machine. In the 
spring, clover is sown. After the wheat is harvested, the clover 
is allowed to grow, without being pastured or mown, for twelve 
months. The ground is then limed, clover plowed in, and, in 
October, again guanoed, two hundred weight to the acre, and wheat 
sown, with clover to follow. The clover may be pastured the fol- 
lowing year, but in the ye,ar succeeding that, it is allowed to grow 
unchecked until August, when it is plowed in, the ground again 
guanoed, and wheat sown with herd's-grass (red-top) and clover, 
which is to remain, for mowing and pasture, as long as the 
ground will profitably sustain it. 



The labor of this farm was entirely performed by slaves. I 
did not inquire their number, but I judged there were from 
twenty to forty. Their "quarters" lined -the approach-road to 
the mansion, and were well-made and comfortable log cabins, 
about thirty feet long by twenty wide, and eight feet 'wall, with 
a high loft and shingle roof. Each, divided in the middle, and 
having a brick chimney outside the wall at each end, was intended 
to be occupied by two families. There were square windows, 
closed by wooden ports, having a single pane of glass in the 
center. The house-servants were neatly dressed, but the field- 
hands wore very coarse and ragged garments. 

During three hours, or more, in which I was in company with 
the proprietor, I do not think there were ten consecutive minutes 
uninterrupted by some of the slaves requiring his personal direc- 
tion or assistance. He was even obliged, three times, to leave 
the dinner-table. 

"You see," said he, smiling, as he came in the last time, "a 
farmer's life, in this country, is no sinecure." This turning the 
conversation to Slavery, he observed, in answer to a remark of 
mine, "I only wish your philanthropists would contrive some 
satisfactory plan to relieve us of it ; the trouble and the 
responsibility of properly taking care of our negroes, you may 
judge, from what you see yourself here, is anything but enviable. 
But what can we do that is better? Our free negroes — and, 
I believe it is the same at the North as it is here — are a 
miserable set of vagabonds, drunken, vicious, worse off, it is 
my honest opinion, than those who are retained in slavery. I 
am satisfied, too, that our slaves are better off, as they are, than 
the majority of your free laboring classes at the North." 


I expressed my doubts. 

" Well, they certainly are better off than the English agricul- 
tural laborers or, I believe, those of any other Christian country. 
Fxee_iabor might be. .more proff table to us: I am inclined to 
think it would be. The slaves are excessively careless and 
wasteful, and, in various ways — which, without you lived among 
them, you could hardly be made to understand — subject us to 
very annoying losses. 

" To make anything by farming, here, a man has got to live a 
hard life. You see how constantly I am called upon — and. 
often, it is about as bad at night as by day. Last night I did 
not sleep a wink till near morning ; I am quite worn out with it, 
and my wife's health is failing. But I cannot rid myself of it." 


I asked why he did not employ an overseer. 

" Because I do not think it right to trust to such men as we 
have to use, if we use any, for overseers." 

"Is the general character of overseers bad?" 

" They are the curse of this country, sir ; the worst men in 
the community. * * * * But lately, I had another sort 
of fellow offer — a fellow like a dancing-master, with kid gloves, 
and wrist-bands turned up over his coat-sleeves, and all so nice, 
that I was almost ashamed to talk to him in my old coat and 
slouched hat. Half a bushel of recommendations he had with 
him, too. Well, he was not the man for me — not half the 
gentleman, with all his airs, that Ned here is " — (a black servant, 
who was bursting with suppressed laughter, behind his chair). 

" Oh, they are interesting creatures, sir," he continued, " and, 
with all their faults, have many beautiful traits. I can't help 


being attached to them, and I am sure they love us." In his 
own case, at least, I did not doubt it ; his manner towards them 
was paternal — familiar and kind; and they came to him like 
children who have been given some task, and constantly are 
wanting to be encouraged and guided, simply and confidently. 
At dinner, he frequently addressed the servant familiarly, and 
drew him into our conversation as if he were a family friend, 
better informed, on some local and domestic points, than himself. 
He informed me that able-bodied field-hands were hired out, in 
this vicinity, at the rate of one hundred dollars a year, and 
their board and clothing. Four able-bodied men, that I have 
employed the last year, on my farm in New York, I pay, on an 
average, one hundred and five dollars each, and board them; 
they clothe themselves at an expense, I think, of twenty dollars 
a year; — probably, slaves' clothing costs twice that. They 
constitute all the force of my farm, hired by the year (except 
a boy, who goes to school in Winter), and, in my absence, have 
no overseer except one of themselves, whom I appoint. I pay 
the fair wages of the market, more than any of my neighbors, 
I believe, and these are no lower than the average of what I 
have paid for the last five years. It is difficult to measure the 
labor performed in a day by one, with that of the other, on 
account of undefined differences in the soil, and in the bulk and 
weight of articles operated upon. But, here, I am shown tools 
that no man in his senses, with us, would allow a laborer, to 
whom he was paying wages, to be encumbered with ; and the 
excessive weight and clumsiness of Avhich, I would judge, would 
make work at least ten per cent, greater than those ordinarily 
used with us. And I am assured that, in the careless and clumsy 
way they must be used by the slaves, anything lighter or less 


rude could uot be furnished them with good economy, and that 
such tools as we constantly give our laborers, and find our profit 
in giving them, would not last out a day in a Virginia corn-field 
— much lighter and more free from stones though it be than 

So, too, when I ask why mules are so universally substituted 
for horses on the farm, the first reason given, and confessedly the 
most conclusive one, is, that horses cannot bear the treatment 
that they always must get from negroes ; horses are always soon 
foundered or crippled by them, while mules will bear cudgeling, 
and lose a meal or two now and then, and not be materially 
injured, and they do not take cold or get sick if neglected or 
overworked. But I do not need to go further than to the window 
of the room in which I am writing, to see, at almost any time, 
treatment of cattle that would insure the immediate discharge 
of the driver, by almost any farmer owning them at the North. 




Yesterday I visited a coal-pit: the majority of the mining 
laborers are slaves, and uncommonly athletic and fine-looking 
negroes ; but a considerable number of white hands are also 
employed, and they occupy all the responsible posts. The 
slaves are, some of them, owned by the Mining Company ; but 
the most are hired of their owners, at from $120 to $200 a 
year, the company boarding and clothing them. (I have the 
impression that I heard it was customary to give them a certain 
allowance of money and let them find their own board). 

The white hands are mostly English or Welchmen. One of 
them, with whom I conversed, told me that he had been here 
several years ; he had previously lived some years at the North. 


He got better wages here than he had earned at the North, but 
he was not contented, and did not intend to remain. On 
pressing him for the reason of his discontent, he said, after some 
hesitation, that he had rather live where he could be more free ; 
a man had to be too " discreet" here : if one happened to say 
anything that gave offense, they thought no more of drawing a 
pistol or a knife upon him, than they would of kicking a dog 
that was in their way. Not long since, a young English fellow 
came to the pit, and was put to work along with a gang of 
negroes. One morning, about a week afterwards, twenty or 
thirty men called on him, and told him that they would allow 
him fifteen minutes to get out of sight, and if they ever saw him 
in those parts again, they would "give him hell." They were 
all armed, and there was nothing for the young fellow to do 
but to move " right off." 

" What reason did they give him for it ?" 

" They did not give him any reason." 

" But what had he done ?" 
i " Why I believe they thought he had been too free with the 
/niggers; he wasn't used to them, you see, sir, and he talked to 
yem free like, and they thought he'd make 'em think too much 
o| themselves." 

He said the slaves were very well fed, and well treated — not 
worked over hard. They were employed night and day, in 

The coal from these beds is of special value for gas manu- 
facture, and is shipped, for that purpose, to all the large towns on 
the Atlantic sea-board, even to beyond Boston. It is delivered 
to shipping at Bichmond, at fifteen cents a bushel : about thirty 
bushels go to a ton. 



The hotel at which I am staying, " the American," Milberger 
Smith, from New York, proprietor, is a very capital one. I 
have never, this side the Atlantic, had my comforts provided for 
better, in my private room, with so little annoyance from the 
servants. The chamber-servants are negroes, and are accom- 
plished in their business ; (the dining-room servants are Irish). 
A man and a woman attend together upon a few assigned rooms, 
in the hall adjoining which they are constantly in waiting ; your 
bell is answered immediately, your orders are quickly and quietly 
followed, and your particular personal wants anticipated as much 
as possible, and provided for, as well as the usual offices 
performed, when you are out. The man becomes your servant 
while you are in your room ; he asks, at night, when he comes to 
request your boots, at what time he shall come in the morning, 
and then, without being very exactly punctual, he comes quietly 
in, makes your fire, sets the boots before it, brushes and arranges 
your clothes, lays out your linen, arranges your washing and 
dressing gear, asks if you want anything else of him before 
breakfast, opens the shutters, and goes off to the next room. I 
took occasion to speak well of him to my neighbor one day, that 
I might judge whether I was particularly favored. 

" Oh yes," he said, " Henry was a very good boy, very — 
valuable servant — quite so — would be worth two thousand 
dollars, if he was a little younger — easy." 

At dinner, a respectable looking, gray-headed man asked another: 

" Niggers are going high now, aint they V 

"Yes, sir." 

" What would you consider a fair price for a w oman thirty 

years old, with a young-one two years old?" 


"Depends altogether on her physical condition, you know. 
— Has she any other children?" 
" Yes; four." 

" Well — I reckon ahout seven to eight hundred." 

" I bought one yesterday — gave six hundred and fifty." 
" Well, sir, if she's tolerable likely, you did well." 


What is most remarkable in the appearance of the people 
of the better class, is their invariably high-dressed condition ; 
look down the opposite side of the table, even at breakfast, 
and you will probably see thirty men drinking coffee, all 
in full funeral dress, not an easy coat amongst them. It is the 
same in the street, and the same with ladies as with gentlemen ; 
silk and satin, under umbrellas, rustle along the side-walk, or 
skip across it between carriages and the shops, as if they were 
going to a dinner-party, at eleven o'clock in the morning. The 
last is only New York repeated, to be sure, but the gentlemen 
carry it further than in New York, and seem never to indulge 
in undress. 

I have rarely seen a finer assemblage of people than filled the 
theatre one night, at the benefit of the Bateman children, who 
are especial favorites of the public here. As the Legislature is 
in session, I presume there was a fair representation of the Vir- 
ginians of all parts of the State. A remarkable proportion of 
the men were very tall and of animated expression — and of the 
women, fair, refined, and serene. The men, however, were very 
deficient in robustness, and the women, though graceful and 
attractive, had none of that dignity and stateliness for which the 
dames of Virginia were formerly much distinguished. 


In manners, I notice that, between man and man, more 
ceremony and form is sustained, in familiar conversation, than 
well-bred people commonly use at the North. 

Among the people you see in the streets, full half, I should 
think, are more or less of negro blood, and a very decent, 
civil people these seem, in general, to be ; more so than the 
laboring class of whites, among which there are many very 
ruffianly looking fellows. There is a considerable population 
of foreign origin, generally of the least valuable class ; very dirty 
German Jews, especially, abound, and their characteristic shops 
(with their characteristic smells, quite as bad as in Cologne), are 
thickly set in the narrowest and meanest streets, which seem to 
be otherwise inhabited mainly by negroes. 


Immense wagons, drawn by six mules each, the teamster 
always riding on the back of the near-wheeler, are a characteristic 
feature of the streets. Another is the wood-carts ; small trucks 
loaded with about a cord of pine wood, drawn by three mules or 
horses, one in shafts, and two others, abreast, before him ; a negro 
always riding the shaft-horse and guiding the leaders with a 
single rein, one pull to turn them to the right, and two to the 
left, with a great deal of the whip whichever way they go. The 
same guiding apparatus, a single line, with branches to each bit, 
is used altogether upon the long wagon teams. On the canal, a 
long, narrow, canoe-like boat, perhaps fifty feet long and six 
wide, and drawing but a foot or two of water, is nearly as 
common as the ordinary large boats, such as are used on our 
canals. They come out of some of the small, narrow, crooked 
streams, connected with the canals, in which a difficult navigation 


is effected by poleing. They are loaded -with tobacco, flour, and 
a great variety of raw country produce. The canal boatmen of 
Virginia seem to be quite as rude, insolent, and riotous a class 
as tbose of New York, and every facility is evidently afforded 
them, at Eichmond, for indulging their peculiar appetites and 
tastes. A great many low eating, and, I should think, drinking 
shops are frequented chiefly by the negroes. Dancing and 
other amusements are carried on in these at night. 

From reading the comments of Southern statesmen and news- 
papers on the crime and misery which sometimes result from the 
accumulation of poor and ignorant people, with no intelligent 
masters to take care of them, in our Northern towns, one might 
get the impression that Southern towns — especially those not 
demoralized by foreign commerce — were comparatively free from 
a low and licentious population. From what I have seen, how- 
ever, I should be now led to think that there was at least as 
much vice, and of what we call rowdyism, in Eichmond, as in 
any Northern town of its size.* 


The train was advertised to leave at 3.30 P. M. At that hour 
the cars were crowded with passengers, and the engineer, punc- 
tually at the minute, gave notice that he was at his post, by a 
long, loud whistle of the locomotive. Five minutes afterwards 
he gave us an impatient jerk; ten minutes afterwards we 

* Sad Picture. — A gentleman informs the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, that, 
while taking a 6troll on one of the islands in James river, not far from Mayo's 
Bridge last Sunday morning, he counted as many as twenty-two boys, from ten 
to fifteen years of age, engaged in gaming with cards and dice for money. In 
some of the parties he saw grown men and small boys playing bluff, and cursing 
swearing, and drinking. — Southern Newspaper. 


advanced three rods ; twelve minutes afterwards, returned to first 
position : continued, " backing and filling" upon the bridge over 
the rapids of the James river, for half an hour. At precisely 
four o'clock, crossed the bridge and fairly started for Petersburg. 

Ean twenty miles in exactly an hour and thirty minutes, (thir- 
teen miles an hour ; mail train, especially recommended by 
advertisement as "fast"). Brakes on, three times, for cattle 
on the track; twenty minutes spent at way-stations. Flat 
rail. Locomotive built at Philadelphia. I am informed that 
most of those used on the road — perhaps all those of the slow 
trains — are made at Petersburg. 

At one of the stoppages, smoke was to bo seen issuing from 
the truck of a car. The conductor, on having his attention 
called to it, nodded his head sagely, took a morsel of tobacco, 
put his hands in his pocket, looked at the truck as if he would 
mesmerize it, spat upon it, and then stept upon the platform 
and shouted "All right ! Go ahead !" At the next stoppage, 
the smoking was furious ; conductor bent himself over it with an 
evidently strong exercise of his will, but not succeeding to tran- 
quilize the subject at all, he suddenly relinquished the attempt, 
and, deserting Mesmer for Preisnitz, shouted, " Ho ! boy ! bring 
me some water here." A negro soon brought a quart of water 
in a tin vessel. 

"Hain't got no oil, Columbus?" 

"No, sir." 

"Hum — go ask Mr. Smith for some: this yer's a screaking 
so, I durstn't go on. You Scott ! get some salt. And look 
here, some of you boys, get me some more water. D'ye hear?" 
• Salt, oil, and water, were crowded into the box, and, after five 
minutes longer delay, we went on, the truck still smoking, and 


the water and oil boiling in the box, until we reached Petersburg. 
The heat was the result, I suppose, of a neglect of sufficient or 
timely oiling. While waiting, in a carriage, for the driver to get 
my baggage, I saw a negro oiling all the trucks of the train ; as 
he proceeded from one to the other, he did not give himself the 
trouble to elevate the outlet of his oiler, so that a stream of oil, 
costing probably a dollar and a half a gallon, was poured out 
upon the ground the whole length of the train. 


While on the bridge at Eichmond, the car in which I was 
seated was over-full — several persons standing; among them, 
one considerably " excited," who informed the company that he 
was a Member of the House of Delegates, and that he would 
take advantage of this opportune collection of the people, to 
expose an atrocious attempt, on the part of the minority, to jump 
a Bill through the Legislature, which was not in accordance 
with true Democratic principles. He continued for some time to 
address them in most violent, absurd, profane, and meaningless 
language ; the main point of his oration being, to demand the popu- 
lar gratitude for himself, for having had the sagacity and courage 
to prevent the accomplishment of the nefarious design. He 
afterwards attempted to pass into the ladies' car, but was dis- 
suaded from doing so by the conductor, who prevailed on a 
young man to give him his seat. Having taken it, he immedi- 
ately lifted his feet upon the back of the seat before him, 
resting them upon the shoulders of its occupant. This gentle- 
man turning his head, he begged his pardon ; but, hoping it 
would not occasion him inconvenience, he said he would prefer 
to keep them there, and did so ; soon afterwards falling asleep. 



There were, in the train, two first-class passenger cars, and 
two freight cars. The latter were occupied by about forty 
negroes, most of them belonging to traders, who were sending 
them to the cotton States to be sold. Such kind of evidence of 
activity in the slave trade of Virginia is to be seen every day ; 
but particulars and statistics of it are not to be obtained by a 
stranger here. Most gentlemen of character seem to have 
a special disinclination to converse on the subject ; and it is 
denied, with feeling, that slaves are often reared, as is supposed 
by the Abolitionists, with the intention of selling them to the 
traders. It appears to me evident, however, from the manner in 
which I hear the traffic spoken of incidentally, that the cash 
value of a slave for sale, above the cost of raising it from infancy 
to the age at which it commands the highest price, is generally 
considered among the surest elements of a planter's wealth. 
Such a nigger is worth such a price, and such another is too old 
to learn to pick cotton, and such another will bring so much, 
when it has grown a little more, I have frequently heard people 
say, in the street, or the public-houses. That a slave woman is 
commonly esteemed least for her laboring qualities, most for 
those qualities which give value to a brood-mare is, also, con- 
stantly made apparent.* 

* A slaveholder writing to me with regard to my cautious statements on this 
subject, made in the Daily Times, says : — " In the States of Maryland, Virginia, 
North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, as much attention is paid 
to the breeding and growth of negroes as to that of horses and mules. Further 
South, we raise them both for use and for market. Planters command their 
girls and women (married or unmarried) to have children ; and I have known a 
great many negro girls to be sold off, because they did not have children. A 
breeding woman is worth from one-sixth to one-fourth more than one that doe3 
not breed." 


By comparing the average decennial ratio of slave increase in all 
the States with the difference in the number of the actual slave- 
population of the slave-breeding States, as ascertained by the 
census, it is apparent that the number of slaves exported to the 
cotton States is considerably .more than twenty thousand a year. 

While calling on a gentleman occupying an honorable official 
position at Eichmond, I noticed upon his table a copy of 
Professor Johnson's Agricultural Tour in the United States. 
Eeferring to a paragraph in it, where some statistics of the value 
of the slaves raised and annually exported from Virginia were 
given, I asked if he knew how these had been obtained, and 
whether they were reliable. "No," he replied; "I don't know 
anything about it; but if they are anything unfavorable to the 
institution of slavery, you may be sure they are false." This is 
but an illustration, in extreme, of the manner in which I find 
a desire to obtain more correct but definite information, on the 
subject of slavery, is usually met, by gentlemen otherwise of 
enlarged mind and generous qualities. 

A gentleman, who was a member of the " Union Safety Com- 
mittee" of New York, during the excitement which attended the 
discussion of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, told me that, as he 
was passing through Virginia this winter, a man entered the car 
in which he was seated, leading in a negro girl, whose manner 
and expression of face indicated dread and grief. Thinking she 
was a criminal, he asked the man what she had done: 

"Done"? Nothing." 

"What are you going to do with her 1 ?" 

" I'm taking her down to Eichmond, to be sold." 

"Does she belong to you?" 

"No; she belongs to ; he raised her." 


"Why does he sell her — has she done anything wrong?" 

"Done anything? No: she's no fault, I reckon." 

"Then, what does he want to sell for 1 ?" 

"Sell her for! Why shouldn't he sell her? He sells one or 
two every year; wants the money for 'em, I reckon." 

The irritated tone and severe stare with which this was 
said, my friend took as a caution not to pursue his investiga- 

A gentleman, with whom I was conversing on the subject of 
the cost of slave labor, in answer to an inquiry — what proportion 
of all the stock of slaves of an old plantation might be reckoned 
upon to do full work? — answered, that he owned ninety-six 
negroes; of these, only thirty-five were field-hands, the rest 
being either too young or too old for hard work. He reckoned 
his whole force as only equal to twenty-one strong men, or 
"prime field-hands." But this proportion was somewhat smaller 
than usual, he added, "because his women were uncommonly 
good breeders; he did not suppose there was a lot of women 
anywhere that bred faster than his; he never heard of babies 
coming so fast as they did on his plantation ; it was perfectly 
surprising ; and every one of them, in his estimation, was worth 
two hundred dollars, as negroes were selling now, the moment it 
drew breath." 

I asked, what he thought might be the usual proportion of 
workers to slaves, supported on plantations, throughout the 
South. On the large cotton and sugar plantations of the more 
Southern States, it was very high, he replied; because their 
hands were nearly all bought and picked for ivork; he supposed, 
on these, it would be about one-half; but, on any old plantation, 
where the stock of slaves had been an inheritance, and none had 


been bought or sold, be thought the working force would rarely 
be more than one-third, at most, of the whole number. 

This gentleman was out of health, and told me, with frankness, 
that such was the trouble and annoyance his negroes occasioned 
him — although he had an overseer — and so wearisome did he 
find the lonely life he led on his plantation, that he could not 
remain upon it; and, as he knew everything would go to the 
dogs if he did not, he was seriously contemplating to sell out, 
retaining only his foster-mother and a body-servant. He thought 
of taking them to Louisiana and Texas, for sale; but, if he 
should learn that there was much probability that Lower Califor- 
nia would be made a slave State, he supposed it would pay him 
to wait, as probably, if that should occur, he could take them 
there and sell them for twice as much as they would now bring 
in New Orleans. He knew very well, he said, that, as they were, 
raising corn and tobacco, they were paying nothing at all like 9. 
fair interest on their value.* 

Some of his best hands he now rented out, to work in a 
furnace, and for the best of these he had been offered, for next 
year, two hundred dollars. He did not know whether he ought 
to let them go, though. They were worked hard, and had too 
much liberty, and were acquiring bad habits. They earned money, 
by overwork, and spent it for whisky, and got a habit of roaming 
about and talcing care of themselves ; because, when they were not 
at work in the furnace, nobody looked out for them. 

I begin to suspect that the great trouble and anxiety of South- 
ern gentlemen is : — How, without quite destroying the capabiUties 

* Mr. Wise is reported to have stated, in his electioneering tour, when can- 
didate for Governor, in 1855, that, if slavery were permitted in California, 
negroes would sell for $5,000 apiece. 


of the negro for any work at all, to prevent him from learning to 
take care of himself. 


Petersburg, Dec. 28. — It was early in a fine, mild, bright 
morning, like the pleasantest we ever have in March, that I 
alighted, from a train of cars, at a country station. Besides the 
shanty that stood for a station-house, there was a small, com- 
fortable farm-house on the right, and a country store on the 
left, and around them, perhaps, fifty acres of cleared land, 
now much flooded with muddy water ; — all environed by thick 

A few negro children, staring as fixedly and posed as life- 
lessly as if they were really figures " carved in ebony," stood, lay, 
and lounged on the sunny side of the ranks of locomotive-firewood; 
a white man, smoking a cigar, looked out of the door of the 
store, and another, chewing tobacco, leaned against a gate-post 
in front of the farm-house ; I advanced to the latter, and asked 
him if I could hire a horse in the neighborhood. 

"How d'ye do, sir?" he replied; "I have some horses — none 
on 'em very good ones, though — rather hard riders ; reckon, 
perhaps, they wouldn't suit you very well." 

" Thank you ; do you think I could find anything better 
about here?" 

" Colonel Gillin, over here to the store, 's got a right nice 
saddle-horse, if he'll let you take her. I'll go over there with 

you, and see if he will Mornin', Colonel ; — here's a 

gentleman that wants to go to Thomas W.'s: couldn't you let 
him have your saddle-horse?" 

"How do you do, sir; I suppose you'd come back to-nighf;'?" 


" That's my intention, but I might be detained till to-morrow, 
unless it would be inconvenient to you to spare your horse." 

" Well, yes, sir, I reckon you can have her ; — Tom ! — Tom ! — 
Tom ! Now, has that devilish nigger gone again ! Tom ! 

Oh, Tom! saddle the filly for this gentleman. Have you 

ever been to Mr. W.'s, sir?" 

"No, I have not." 

" It isn't a very easy place for strangers to go to from here ; 
but I reckon I can direct you, so you'll have no difficulty. 

He accordingly began to direct me ; but, the way appeared so 
difficult to find, I asked him to let me make a written memoran- 
dum, and, from this memorandum, I now repeat the directions 
he gave me. 

" You take this road here — you'll see where it's most traveled, 
and it's easy enough to keep on it for about a mile ; then there's 
a fork, and you take the right ; pretty soon, you'll cross a creek 
and turn to the right — the creek's been up a good deal lately, 
and there's some big trees fallen along there, and, if they ha'n't 
got them out of the way, you may have some difficulty in finding 
where the road is ; but you keep bearing off to the right, where 
it's the most open (?'. e., the wood), and you'll see it again pretty 
soon. Then, you go on, keeping along in the road — you'll see 
where folks have traveled before — for maybe quarter of a mile, 
and you'll find a cross-road ; you must take that to the left ; 
pretty soon you'll pass two cabins ; one of 'em's old and all 
fallen in, the other one's new, and there's a white man lives into 
it: you can't mistake it. About a hundred yards beyond it, there's 
a fork, and you take the left — it turns square off, and it's fenced 
for a good bit ; keep along by the fence, and you can't miss it. 
It's right straight beyond that till you come to a school-house, 


there's a gate opposite to it, and off there there's a big house- 
but I don't reckon you'll see it neither, for the woods. But some- 
where, about three hundred yards beyond the school-house, you'll 
find a little road running off to the left through an old field ; 
you take that and keep along in it, and in less than half a mile 
you'll find a path going square oft' to the right ; you take that, 
and keep on it till you pass a little cabin in the woods ; aint 
nobody lives there now : then it turns to the left, and when you 
come to a fence and gate, you'll see a house there, that's Mr. 
George Eivers' plantation — it breaks in two, and you take the 
right, and when you come to the end of the fence, turn the 
corner — don't keep on, but turn there. Then it's straight, till 
you come to the creek again — there's a bridge there ; don't go 
over the bridge, but turn to the left and keep along nigh the 
creek, and pretty soon you'll see a meeting-house in the woods ; 
you go to that, and you'll see a path bearing off to the right 
— it looks as if it was going right away from the creek, but 
you take it, and pretty soon it'll bring you to a saw-mill on the 
creek, up higher a piece ; you just cross the creek there, and 
you'll find some people at the mill, and they'll put you right 
straight on the road to Mr. W.'s." 

" How far is it all, sir?" 

" I reckon it's about two hours' ride, when the roads are good, 
to the saw-mill. Mr. W.'s gate is only a mile or so beyond 
that, and then you've got another mile, or better, after you get 
to the gate, but you'll see some nigger-quarters — the niggers 
belong to Mr. W., and I reckon ther'll be some of 'em round, 
and they'll show you just where to go." 

After reading over my memorandum, and finding it correct, 
and agreeing with him that I should pay two dollars a day for 


tlie mare, we walked out, and found her saddled and waiting 
for me. 

I remarked that she was very good-looking. 

" Yes, sir ; she a'nt a bad filly ; out of a mare that came of 
Lady Eackett by old Lord-knows-who, the best horse we ever 
had in this part of the country : I expect you have heard of him. 
Oh! she's maybe a little playful, but you'll find her a pleasant 

The filly was just so pleasantly playful, and full of well-bred 
life, as to create a joyful, healthy, sympathetic, frolicsome heed- 
lessness in her rider — walking rapidly, and with a sometimes 
irresistible inclination to dance and bound ; making believe she 
was frightened at all the burnt stumps, and flashes of sun-light on 
the ice, and, every time a bog lifted himself up before her, start- 
ing back in the most ridiculous manner, as if she bad never seen 
a hog before ; bounding over the fallen trees as easily as a life- 
boat over a billow ; and all the time gracefully playing tricks 
with her feet, and her ears, and her tail, and evidently enjoying 
herself just like any child in a half-holiday ramble through the 
woods, yet never failing to answer to every motion of my hand 
or my knees, as if she were a part of myself. In fact, there soon 
came to be a real good understanding, if not even something 
like a merging of identity, between Jane and me (the filly's name 
was Jane Gillin) ; if her feet were not in the stirrups, I am sure 
I had all the sensation of tripping it on the ground with mine, 
half the time, and we both entered into each other's feelings, and 
moved, and were moved, together, in a way which a two hours' 
lecture, by a professor of psychology, would be insufficient, satis- 
factorily, to explain to people who never but all that's of no 

consequence, except that, of course, we soon lost our way. 


We were walking along slowly, quietly, musingly — I was 
fondling her with my hand under her mane, when it suddenly 
came into my mind : " why Jane ! it's a long time since I've 
thought anything about the road — I wonder where we've got to." 
We stopped and tried to work up our dead-reckoning. 

First, we picked our way from the store down to the brook, 
through a deeply corrugated clay-road.; then there was the 
swamp, with the fallen trees and thick underwood, beaten down 
and barked in the miry parts by wagons, making a road for 
themselves, no traces of which could we find in the harder, 
pebbly ground. At length when we came on to drier land, and 
among pine trees, we discovered a clear way cut through them, 
and a distinct road before us again ; and this brought us soon 
to an old clearing, just beginning to be grown over with pines, in 
which was the old cabin of rotten logs, one or two of them falling 
out of rank on the door-side, and the whole concern having a 
dangerous lurch to one corner, as if too much whisky had been 
drank in it : then a more recent clearing, with a fenced field and 
another cabin, the residence of that white man we were told of 
probably. No white people, however, were to be seen, but two 
negroes sat in the mouth of a wigwam, husking maize, and a 
couple of hungry hounds came bounding over the zig-zag, gate- 
less fence, as if they had agreed with each other that they would 
wait no longer for the return of their master, but would straight- 
way pull down the first traveler that passed, and have something 
to eat before they were quite famished. They stopped short, 
however, when they had got within a good cart-whip's length of 
us, and contented themselves with dolefully youping as long as 
we continued in sight. We turned the corner, following some 
slight traces of a road, and shortly afterwards met a curious 


vehicular establishment, probably belonging to the master of the 
hounds. It consisted of an axle-tree and wheels, and a pair of 
shafts made of unbarked saplings, in which was harnessed, by 
attachments of raw-hide and rope, a single small black ox. 
There was a bit, made of telegraph-wire, in his mouth, by which 
he was guided, through the mediation of a pair of much knotted 
rope-reins, by a white man — a dignified sovereign, wearing a 
brimless crown — who sat upon a two-bushel sack, (of meal, I 
trust, for the hounds' sake,) balanced upon the axle-tree, and who 
saluted me with a frank " How are you ?" as we came opposite 
each other. 

Soon after this, we reached a small grove of much older and 
larger pines than we had seen before, with long and horizontally 
stretching branches, and duller and thinner foliage. In the 
middle of it was another log-cabin, with a door in one of tbe 
gable-ends, a stove-pipe, half-rusted away, protruding from the 
other, and, in the middle of one of the sides, a small square 
port-hole, closed by a wooden shutter. This must have been 
the school-house, but there were no children then about it, and 
no appearance of there having been any lately. Near it was a 
long string of fence and a gate and lane, which gave entrance, 
probably, to a large plantation, though there was no cultivated 
land within sight of the road. 

I could remember hardly anything after this, except a continu- 
ation of pine trees, big, little, and medium in size, and hogs, 
and a black, crooked, burnt sapling, that we had made believe 
was a snake springing at us and had jumped away from, and then 
we had gone on at a trot — it must have been some time ago, that 
— and then I was paying attentions to Jane, and finally my 
thoughts had gone wool-gathering, and we must have traveled 


some miles out of our way and — " never mind," said Jane, lifting 
her head, and turning in the direction we had been going, " I 
don't think it's any great matter if we are lost ; such a fine day — 
so long since I've been out; if you don't care, I'd just as lief be 
lost as not ; let's go on and see what we shall come to." 

" Very well, my dear, you know the country better than I do ; 
go where you like ; if you'll risk your dinner, I'm quite ready to 
go anywhere in your company. It's quite certain we have not 
passed any meeting-house, or creek, or saw-mill, or negro-quar- 
ters, and, as we have been two hours on the road, it's evident we 
are not going straight to Mr. W.'s. ; I'll try at least to take note 
of what we do pass after this," and I stood up in the stirrups as 
we walked on, to see what the country around us was. 

" Old fields" — a coarse, yellow, sandy soil, bearing scarce 
anything but pine trees and broom-sedge. In some places, for 
acres, the pines would not be above five feet high — that was land 
that had been in cultivation, used up and "turned out," not more 
than six or eight years before ; then there were patches of every 
age ; sometimes the trees were a hundred feet high. At long 
intervals, there were fields in which the pine was just beginning 
to spring in beautiful green plumes from the ground, and was 
yet hardly noticeable among the dead brown grass and sassafras 
bushes and blackberry-vines, which nature first sends to hide the 
nakedness of the impoverished earth. 

Of living creatures, for miles, not one was to be seen (not 
even a crow or a snow-bird), except hogs. These — long, lank, 
bony, snake-headed, hairy, wild beasts — would come dashing 
across our path, in packs of from three to a dozen, with short, 
hasty grunts, almost always at a gallop, and looking neither to 
right nor left, as if they were in pursuit of a fox, and were 


quite certain to catch him in the next hundred yards ; or droves 
of little pigs would rise up suddenly in the sedge, and scamper 
off squealing into cover, while their heroic mothers would turn 
around and make a stand, looking fiercely at us, as if they were 
quite ready to fight if we advanced any further, but always 
breaking, as we came near, with a loud boosch ! 

Once I saw a house, across a large, new old-field, but it was 
far off", and there was no distinct path leading towards it out of 
the wagon-track we were following ; so we did not go to it, but 
continued walking steadily on through the old-fields and pine 
woods for more than an hour longer. 

We then arrived at a grove of tall oak trees, in the midst of 
which ran a brook, giving motion to a small grist-mill. Back 
of the mill were two log cabins, and near these a number of 
negroes, in holiday clothes, were standing in groups among the 
trees. When we stopped one of them came towards us. He 
wore a battered old hat, of the cylindrical fashion, stiffly starched 
shirt-collar, cutting his ears, a red cravat, and an old black dress 
coat, thread-bare and a little ragged, but adorned with new brass 
buttons. He knew Mr. Thomas W., certainly he did ; and he 
reckoned I had come about four miles (he did not know but it 
might be eight, if I thought so) off the road I had been directed 
to follow. But that was of no consequence, because he could 
show me where to go by a straight road — a cross cut — from 
here, that would make it just as quick for me as if I had gone 
the way I had intended. 

" How far is it from here ?" I asked. 

" Oh, 'taint far, sar." 

"How far do you think?" 

" Well, massa, I spec — I spec — (looking at my horse) I spec, 


massa, ef you goes de way, sar, dat I shows you, sar, I reckon 
it '11 take you — " 

" How far is it — how many miles f" 

" How many miles, sar 1 ha ! masser, I don 'zactly reckon I 
ken tell ou — not 'cisely, sar — how many miles it is, not 'zactly, 
'cisely, sar." 

"How is that — you don't what?" 

" I don't 'zactly reckon I can give you de drection excise 
about de miles, sar." 

" Oh ! hut how many miles do you think it is ; is it two 
miles V 

" Yes, sar ; as de roads is now, I tink it is just about two 
miles. Dey's long ones, dough, I reckon." 

" Long ones 1 you think it's more than two miles, don't you, 

" Yes, sar, I reckon its four or five miles." 

" Four or five ! four or five long ones or short ones do yon 

" I don 'zactly know, sar, wedder dey is short ones or long 
ones, sar, but I reckon you find em middlin' long ; I spec you'll 
be about two hours 'fore you be done gone all de way to mass 

He walked on with us a few rods upon a narrow path, until 
we came to a crossing of the stream ; pointing to where it con- 
tinued on the other side, he assured me that it went right straight 
to Mr. W.'s plantation. " You juss keep de straight road, mas- 
ter," he repeated several times, " and it'll take you right dar, 

He had been grinning and bowing, and constantly touching 
his hat, or holding it in his hand during our conversation, which 


I understood to mean, that he would thank me for a dime. I gave 
it to him, upon which he repeated his contortions and his form 
of direction — "keep de straight road." I rode through the 
brook, and he called out again — " you keep dat road right straight 
and it'll take you right straight dar." I rode up the bank and 
entered the oak wood, and still again heard him enjoining me 
to " keep dat road right straight." 

Within less than quarter of a mile, there was a fork in the 
road to the left, which seemed a good deal more traveled than 
the straight one ; nevertheless I kept the latter, and was soon 
well satisfied that I had done so. It presently led me up a slope 
out of the oak woods into a dark evergreen forest ; and though 
it was a mere bridle-path, it must have existed, I thought, before 
the trees began to grow, for it was free of stumps, and smooth 
and clean as a garden walk, and the pines grew thickly up, about 
four feet apart, on each side of it, their branches meeting, just 
clear of my head, and making a dense shade. There was an 
agreeable, slightly balsamic odor in the air ; the path was cov- 
ered with a deep, elastic mat of pine leaves, so that our footstep 
could hardly be heard ; and for a time we greatly enjoyed going 
along at a lazy, pacing walk of Jane's. It was noon-day, and 
had been rather warmer than was quite agreeable on the open 
road, and I took my hat off, and let the living pine leaves brush 
my hair. But, after a while, I felt slightly chilly ; and when 
Jane, at the same time, gave a little sympathizing caper, I bent 
my head down, that the limbs might not hit me, until it nearly 
rested on her neck, dropped my hands and pressed my knees 
tightly against her. Away we bounded ! 

What a glorious gallop Jane had inherited from her noble 
grandfather ! 


Out of the cool, dark-green alley, at last, and soon with a more 
cautious step, down a steep, stony declivity, set with deciduous 
trees — beech, ash, oak, gum — " gum," beloved of the " minstrels." 
A brawling shallow brook at the bottom, into which our path 
descended, though on the opposite shore was a steep high bank, 
faced by an impenetrable brake of bush and briar. 

Have we been following a path only leading to a watering- 
place, then? I see no continuance of it. Jane does not hesi- 
tate at all ; but, as if it was the commonest thing here to take 
advantage of nature's engineering in this way, walking into the 
water, turns her head up stream. 

For more than a mile we continued following up the brook, 
which was all the time walled in by insurmountable banks, over- 
hung by large trees. Sometimes it swept strongly through a deep 
channel, contracted by boulders ; sometimes purled and tinkled 
over a pebbly slope ; and sometimes stood in broad, silent pools, 
around the edges of which remained a skirt of ice, held there by 
bushes and long, broken water-grasses. Across the end of one 
of these, barring our way, a dead trunk had lately fallen. Jane 
walked up to it and turned her head to the right. "No," said 
I, "let's go over." She turned, and made a step left — "No! 
over," said I, drawing her back, and touching her with my heels. 

Over we went, landing with such a concussion that I was nearly 
thrown off. I fell forward upon Jane's neck ; she threw up her 
head, spurning my involuntary embrace ; and then, with swollen 
nostrils and flashing eyes, walked on rapidly. 
I " Hope you are satisfied," said she, as I pulled my coat doWn ; 
" if not, you had better spur me again." 

" Why, my dear girl, what 's the matter? It was nothing but 
leather — calf-skin — that I touched you with. I have no spurs— 


don't you see?" for she was turning her head to bite my foot, 
" Now, don't be foolish." 

" Well, well," said she, " I'm a good tempered girl, if I am 
blood ; let's stop and drink." 

After this, we soon came to pine woods again. Jane was 
now for leaving the brook. I let her have her own way, and 
she soon found a beaten track in the woods. It certainly was 
not the "straight road" we had been directed to follow; but its 
course was less crooked than that of the brook, and after some 
time it led us out into a more open country, with young pines 
and inclosed fields. Eventually we came to a gate and lane, 
which we followed till we came to another cross-lane, leading 
straight to a farm-house. 

As soon as we turned into the cross-lane, half-a-dozen little 
negro boys and girls were seen running towards the house, 
to give alarm. We passed a stable, with a cattle-pen by its 
side, opposite which was a vegetable garden, enclosed with split 
palings; then across a running stream of water; then by a small 
cabin on the right; and a corn-crib and large pen, with a 
number of fatting hogs in it, on the left; then into a large, 
irregular yard, in the midst of which was the farm-house, before 
which were now collected three white children, six black ones, 
two negro women, and an old lady with spectacles. 

"How dy do, sir?" said the old lady, as we reined up, 
bowed, and lifted our hat, and put our black foot foremost. 

" Thank you, madam, quite well ; but I have lost my way 
to Mr. Thomas W.'s, and will trouble you to tell me how to» 
go from here to get to his house." 

By this time a black man came cautiously walking in from the 
field back of the house, bringing an axe ; a woman, who had 



been washing clothes in the brook, left her work and came up on 
the other side, and two more girls climbed up on to a heap of logs 
that had been thrown upon the ground, near the porch, for fuel. 

The swine were making a great noise in their pen, as if feeding- 
time had come ; and a flock of turkeys were gobbling so inces- 
santly and loudly that I was not heard. The old lady ordered 
the turkeys to be driven away, but nobody stirred to do it, and 
I rode nearer and repeated my request. No better success. 
" Can't you shew away them turkeys ?" she asked again ; but 
nobody " shewed." A third time I endeavored to make myself 
•understood. " Will you please direct me how to go to Mr. W.'s?" 
" No, sir — not here." 

"Excuse me — I asked if you would direct me to Mr. W.'s." 
"If some of you niggers don't shew them turkeys, I'll have 
you all whipped as soon as your mass John comes home," 
exclaimed the old lady, now quite excited. The man with the 


axe, without moving towards them at all, picked up a billet of 
wood and threw it at the biggest cock-turkey, who immediately 
collapsed ; and the whole flock scattered, chased by the two girls 
who had been on the log-heap. 

"An't dat Colonel Gillen's mare, master?" asked the black 
man, coming up on my left. 

" You Avant to go to Thomas W.'s ?" asked the old lady. 

" Yes, madam." 

" It's a good many years since I have been to Thomas W.'s, 
and I reckon I can't tell you how to go there now." 

"If master '11 go over to Missy Abler's, I reckon dey ken 
tell 'em dah, sar." 

" And how shall I go to Mrs. Abler's ?" 

" You want to go to Missy Abler's ; you take dat path right 
over 'yond dem bars, dar, by de hog-pen, dat runs along by dat 
fence into de woods, and dat '11 take you right straight dar." 

"Is you come from Colonel Gillin's, massa?" asked the wash- 


" Did you see a black man dar, day calls Tom, sar ?" 


" Tom's my husband, massa ; if you's gwine back dah, wish 
you'd tell um, ef you please, sar, dat I wants to see him particu- 
lar ; will ou, massa?" 


" Tank you, massa." 

I bowed to the old lady, and, in turning to ride off, saw two 
other negro boys who had come out of the woods, and were now 
leaning over the fence, and staring at us, as if I was a giant and 
Jane was a dragoness. 


We trotted away, found the path, and in course of a mile had 
our choice of at least twenty forks to go " straight to Mrs. 
Abler's." At length, cleared land again, fences, stubble-fields 
and a lane, that took us to a little cabin, which fronted, much to 
my surprise, upon a broad and well-traveled road. Over the 
door of the cabin was a sign, done in black, upon a hogshead 
stave, showing that it was a " Grosery," which, in Virginia, 
means the same thing as in Ireland — a dram-shop. 

I hung the bridle over a rack before the door, and walked 
in. At one end of the interior was a range of shelves, on which 
were two decanters, some dirty tumblers, a box of crackers, a 
canister, and several packages in paper ; under the shelves were 
a table and a barrel. At the other end of the room was a fire- 
place ; near this, a chest, and another range of shelves, on which 
stood plates and cooking utensils : between these and the grocery 
end were a bed and a spinning-wheel. Near the spinning-wheel 
sat a tall, bony, sickly, sullen young woman, nursing a lan- 
guishing infant. The faculty would not have discouraged either 
of them from trying hydropathic practice. In a corner of the 
fire-place sat a man, smoking a pipe. He rose, as I entered, 
walked across to the grocery-shelves, turned a chair round at 
the table, and asked me to take a seat. I excused myself, and 
requested him to direct me to Mr. W.'s. He had heard of such 
a man living somewhere about there, but he did not know where. 
He repeated this, with an oath, when I declined to " take " 
anything, and added, that he had not lived here long, and he 
was sorry he had ever come here. It was the worst job, for 
himself, ever he did, when he came here, though all he wanted 
was to just get a living. 

I rode on till I came to another house, a very pleasant little 


house, 'with a steep, gabled roof, curving at the bottom, and 
extending over a little gallery, which was entered, by steps, from 
the road; back of it were stables and negro-cabins, and by 
its side was a small garden, and beyond that a peach-orchard. 
As I approached it, a well-dressed young man, with an in- 
telligent and pleasant face, came out into the gallery. I asked 
him if he could direct me to Mr. W.'s. " Thomas W.'s ?" he 

"Yes, sir." 

"You are not going in the right direction to go to Mr. "W.'s. 
The shortest way you can take to go there is, to go right back 
to the Court House." 

I told him I had just come out of the lane by the grocery on 
to the road. " Ah ! well, I'll tell you ; you had better turn 
round, and keep right straight upon this road till you get to the 
Court House, and anybody can tell you, there, how to go." 

"How far is it, sir?" 

" To the Court House ? — not above a mile." 

"And to Mr. W.'s?" 

" To Mr. "W.'s, I should think it was as much as ten miles, 
and long ones, too." 

I rode to the Court House, which was a^plain brick building 
in the centre of a small square, around which there were twenty 
or thirty houses, two of them being occupied as stores, one as 
a saddler's shop, one had the sign of " Law r Office" upon it, two 
were occupied by physicians, one other looked as if it might be 
a meeting-house or school-house, or the shop of any mechanic 
needing much light for his work, and two were " Hotels." At 
one of these we stopped, to dine ; Jane had " corn and fodder " 
(they had no oats or bay in the stable), and I had ham and eggs 


(they had no fresh meat in the house). I had several other 
things, however, that were very good, besides the company of 
the landlady, who sat alone with me, at the table, in a long, 
dining hall, and was very pretty, amiable, and talkative. 

In a course of apologies, which came in the place of soup, she 
gave me the clue to the assemblage of negroes I had seen at the 
mill. It was Christmas week; all the servants thought they 
must go for at least, one day, to have a frolic, and to-day (as 
luck would have it, when I was coming,) her cook was off with 
some others ; she did not suppose they'd be back till to-morrow, 
and then, likely as not, they'd be drunk. She did not think this 
custom, of letting servants go so, at Christmas, was a good one ; 
niggers were not fit to be let to take care of themselves, anyhow. 
It was very bad for them, and she didn't think it was right. 
Providence had put the servants into our hands to be looked 
out for, and she didn't believe it was intended they should be let 
to do all sorts of wickedness, if Christmas didn't come but once 
a year. She wished, for her part, it did not come but once in 

ten years. 

(The negroes, that were husking maize near the cabin where 
the White-man lived, were, no doubt, slaves, who had hired 
themselves out by the day, during the holiday-week, to earn a 
little money on their own account.) 

In regard to the size of the dining hall, and the extent of 
sheds in the stable-yard, the landlady told me that though at 
other times they very often did not have a single guest in a day, 
at "Court time" they always had more than they could com- 
fortably accommodate. I judged, also, from her manners, and 
the general appearance of the house, as well as from the charges, 
that, at such times, the company was of a rather respectable 


character. The appearance of the other public-house indicated 
that it expected a less select patronage. 

When I left, my direction was to keep on the main road until 
I came to a fork, about four miles distant, then take the left, and 
keep the best traveled road, until I came to a certain house, which 
was so described that I should know it, where I was advised to 
ask further directions. 

The sky was now clouding over ; it was growing cold ; and we 
went on, as fast as we conveniently could, until we reached 
the fork in the road. The direction, to keep the best traveled 
road, was unpleasantly prominent in my mind ; it was near sun- 
set, I reflected, and, however jolly it might be at twelve o'clock 
at noon, it would be quite another thing to be knocking about 
among those fierce hogs in the pine-forest, if I should be lost, 
at twelve o'clock at night. Besides, as the landlady said about 
her negroes, I did not think it was right to expose Jane to this 
danger, unnecessarily. A little beyond the fork, there was a 
large, gray, old house, with a grove of tall poplars before it ; a 
respectable, country-gentleman-of-the-old-school look it had. — 
These old Virginians are proverbially hospitable. — It's rather 
impudent ; but I hate to go back to the Court House, and I am 
1 will ride on, and look it in the face, at any rate. 

Zig-zag fences up to a large, square yard, growing full of 
Lombardy poplar sprouts, from the roots of eight or ten old 
trees, which were planted some fifty years ago, I suppose, in a 
double row, on two sides of the house. At the further end of 
this yard, beyond the house, a gate opened on the road, and out 
of this was just then coming a black man. 

I inquired of him if there was a house, near by, at which I 
could get accommodations for the night. Beckoned his master'd 


take me in, if I'd ask him. Where was his master? In the 
house : I could go right in here (at a place where a panel of the 
paling had fallen over) and see him, if I wanted to. I asked 
him to hold my horse, and went in. 

It Avas a simple, two-story house, very much like those built 
by the wealthier class of people in New England villages, from 
fifty to a hundred years ago, except that the chimneys were 
carried up outside the walls. There was a porch at the front 
door, and a small wing at one end, in the rear ; from this wing 
to the other end extended a broad gallery. 

A dog had been barking at me after I dismounted ; and just 
as I reached the steps of the gallery, a vigorous, middle-aged 
man, with a rather sullen and suspicious expression of face, came 
out without any coat on, to see what had excited him. 

Doubting whether he was the master of the house, I told 
him that I had come in to inquire if it would be convenient to 
allow me to spend the night with them. He asked where I 
came from, where I was going to, and various other questions, 
until I had given him an epitome of my day's wanderings and 
adventures ; at the conclusion of which he walked to the end of 
the gallery to look at my horse ; then, without giving me any 
answer, but muttering indistinctly something about servants, 
walked into the house, shutting the door behind him ! 

Well, thought I, this is not very overwhelmingly hospitable. 
What can it mean ? 

While I was considering whether he expected me to go with- 
out any further talk — his curiosity being, I judged, satisfied — he 
came out again, and said, " Reckon you can stay, sir, if you '11 
take what we'll give you." (The good man had been in to con- 
sult his wife.) I replied that I would do so, thankfully, and 


hoped they would not give themselves any unnecessary trouble, 
or alter their usual family arrangements. I was then invited to 
come in, but I preferred to see my horse taken care of first. 
My host called for " Sam," two or three times, and then said he 
reckoned all his " people " had gone off, and he would attend to my 
horse himself. I offered to assist him, and we walked out to the 
gate, where the negro, not being inclined to wait for my return, 
had left Jane fastened to a post. Our host conducted us to an old 
square log-cabin, which had formerly been used for curing tobac- 
co, there being no room for Jane, he said, in the stables proper. 

The floor of the tobacco-house was covered with lumber, old 
plows, scythes and cradles, a part of which had to be removed to 
make room for the filly to stand. She was then induced, with 
some difficulty, to enter it through a low, square door-way ; sad- 
dle and bridle were removed, and she was fastened in a corner 
by a piece of old plow-line. "We then went to a fodder-stack, 
and pulled out from it several small bundles of maize leaves. 
Additional feed and water were promised when "some of the 
niggers " came in ; and, after righting up an old door that had 
fallen from one hinge, and setting a rail against it to keep it in 
its place, we returned to the house. 

My host (whom I will call Mr. Newman) observed that his 
buildings and fences were a good deal out of order. He had 
owned the place but a few years, and had not had time to make 
much improvement about the house yet. 

Entering the mansion, he took me to a large room on the first 
floor, gave me a chair, went out and soon returned (now wearing 
a coat) with two negro girls, one bringing wood and the other 
some flaming brands. A fire was made with a great deal of 
trouble, scolding of the girls, bringing in more brands, and blow- 


ing with the mouth. When the room had heen suffocatingly 
filled with smoke, and at length a strong bright blaze swept 
steadily up the chimney, Mr. Newman again went out with the 
girls, and I was left alone for nearly an hour, with one interrup- 
tion, when he came in and threw some more wood upon the fire, 
and said he hoped I would make myself comfortable. 

It was a square room, with a door from the hall on one side, and 
two windows on each of the other sides. The lower part of the 
walls was wainscoted, and the upper part, with the ceiling, plas- 
tered and white-washed. The fire-place and mantle-piece were 
somewhat carved, and were painted black ; all the other wood- 
work, lead color. Blue paper curtains covered the windows ; the 
floor was uncarpeted, and the only furniture in the room was 
some strong plain chairs, painted yellow, and a Connecticut 
clock, which did not run. The house had evidently been built 
for a family of some wealth, and, after having been deserted by 
them, had been bought at a bargain by the present resident, who 
either had not the capital or the inclination to furnish and occupy 
it appropriately. 

When my entertainer called again, he merely opened the door 
and said, in the words of an order, but in a tone of advice, 
" Come ! get something to eat !" I followed him out into the 
gallery, and thence through a door at its end into a room in the 
wing — a family room, and a very comfortable, homely room. A 
most bountifully spread supper-table stood in the centre, at which 
was sitting a very neat, pretty little woman, of as silent habits 
as her husband, but neither bashful nor morose. A very nice 
little girl sat at her right side, and a peevish, ill-behaved, whin- 
ing glutton of a boy at her left. I was requested to be seated 
adjoining the little girl, and the master of the house sat opposite 


me. The fourth side of the table was unoccupied, though a plate 
and chair were placed there, as if some one else had been ex- 

The two negro girls waited at table, and a negro boy 
was in the room, who, when I asked for a glass of water, was 
sent to get it. An old negro woman also frequently came in 
from the kitchen, with hot biscuit and corn-cake. There was 
fried fowl, and fried bacon and eggs, and cold ham ; there were 
preserved peaches, and preserved quinces and grapes ; there was 
hot wheaten biscuit, and hot short-cake, and hot corn-cake, and 
hot griddle cakes, soaked in butter ; there Avas coffee, and there 
was milk, sour or sweet, whichever I preferred to drink. I really 
ate more than I wanted, and extolled the corn-cake and the peach 
preserve, and asked how they were made ; but I evidently disap- 
pointed my pretty hostess, who said she was afraid there wasn't 
anything that suited me, — she feared there wasn't anything on 
the table I could eat ; and she was sorry I couldn't make out a 
supper. And this was about all she would say. I tried to get 
a free conversation started, but I have myself but poor endow- 
ments for such a purpose, and I could obtain little more than 
very laconic answers to my' questions. 

Except from the little girl at my side, whose confidence I gained 
by taking an opportunity, when her mother was engaged, with 
young hopeful t'other side the coffee-pot, to give her a great lot 
of quince and grape, and by several times pouring molasses very 
freely on her cakes and bacon ; and finally by feeding Pink out 
of my hand. (Hopeful had done this first, and then kicked him 
away, when he came round to Martha and me.) She told me her 
name, and that she had got a kitten, and that she hated Pink ; 
and that she went to a Sunday-school at the Court House, and 


that she was going to go to an every-day school next winter — 
she wasn't big enough to walk so far now, but she would be then. 
But Billy said he didn't mean to go, because he didn't like to, 
though Billy was bigger nor she was, a heap. She reckoned 
when Billy saw Wash. Baker going past every day, and heard 
how much fun he had every day with the other boys at the school, 
he would want to go too, wouldn't he % etc., etc. When supper was 
ended, I set back my chair to the wall, and took her on my knee ; 
but after she had been told twice not to trouble the gentleman, 
and I had testified that she didn't do it, and after several mild 
hints that I would perhaps find it pleasanter in the sitting-room — 
(the chairs in the supper-room were the easiest, being country- 
made, low, and seated with undressed calf-skin), she was called to, 
out of the kitchen, and Mr. Newman, in the form of advice, but 
with the tone of command, said — going to the door and opening 
it for me — " Eeckon you'd better walk into the sittin'-room, sir." 
I walked out at this, and said I would go and look at the filly. 
Mr. Newman called " Sam" again, and Sam, having at that 
moment arrived at the kitchen-door, was ordered to go and take 
care of this gentleman's horse. I followed Sam to the tobacco- 
house, and gave him to know that he would be properly remem- 
bered for any attentions he could give to Jane. He watered her, 
and brought her a large supply of oats in straw, and some maize 
on the cob; but he could get no litter, and declared there was 
no straw on the plantation, though the next morning I saw a 
large quantity in a heap (not a stack), at a little greater distance 
than he was willing to go for it, I suppose, at a barn on the 
opposite side of the road. Having seen her rubbed clean and 
apparently well contented with her quarters and her supper, I 

bade her good-night, and returned to the house. 


I did not venture again into the supper-room, but went to the 
sitting-room, where I found Miss Martha Ann and her kitten ; I 
was having a very good time with her, when her father came in 
and told her she was " troubling the gentleman ;" I denied it, 
and he took a seat by the fire with us, and I soon succeeded in 
drawing him into a conversation on farming, and the differences 
in our methods of work at the North and those he was accus- 
tomed to. 


I learned that there were no white laboring men here who 
hired themselves out by the month. The poor white people 
that had to labor for their living, never would work steadily at 
any employment. " They mostly followed boating" — hiring as 
hands on the bateaus that navigate the small streams and canals, 
but never for a longer term at once than a single trip of a boat, 
whether that might be long or short. At the end of the trip they 
were paid by the day. Their wages were from fifty cents to a dol- 
lar, varying with the demand and individual capacities. They 
hardly ever worked on farms except in harvest, when they usually 
received a dollar a day, sometimes more. In harvest-time, most 
of the rural mechanics closed their shops and hired out to the 
farmers at a dollar a day, which would indicate that their ordinary 
earnings are considerably less than this. At other than harvest- 
time, the poor white people, who had no trade, would sometimes 
work for the farmers by the job; not often at any regular 
agricultural labor, but at getting rails or shingles, or clearing 

He did not know that they were particular about working 
with negroes, but no white man would ever do certain kinds of 


work (such as taking care of cattle, or getting water or wood to 
be used in the house), and if you should ask a white man you 
had hired, to do such things, he would get mad and tell you he 
wasn't a nigger. Poor white girls never hired out to do servants' 
work, but they would come and help another white woman about 
her sewing or quilting, and take wages for it. But these girls 
were not very respectable generally, and it was not agreeable to 
have them in your house, though there were some very respecta- 
ble ladies that would go out to sew. Farmers depended almost 
entirely upon their negroes ; it was only when they were hard 
pushed by their crops, that they got white hands to help them 

Negroes had commanded such high wages lately, to work 
on railroads and in tobacco-factories, that farmers were tempted 
to hire out too many of their people, and to undertake to do too 
much work with those they retained, and thus they were often 
driven to employ white men, and to give them very high wages 
by the day, when they found themselves getting much behind- 
hand with their crops. He had been driven very hard in this 
way this last season ; he had been so unfortunate as to lose one of 
his best women, who died in child-bed just before harvest. The 
loss of the woman and her child, for the child had died also, just 
at that time, came very hard- upon him. He would not have 
taken a thousand dollars of any man's money for them. He 
had had to hire white men to help him, but they were poor 
sticks and would be half the time drunk, and you never know 
what to depend upon with them. One fellow that he had hired, 
who had agreed to work for him all through harvest, got him to 
pay him some wages in advance, (he said it was to buy him 
some clothes with, so he could go to meeting, Sunday, at the 


Court-House,) and went off the next day, right in the middle of 
harvest, and he never had seen him since. He had heard of 
him — he was on a boat — but he didn't reckon he should ever 
get his money again. 

Of course, he did not see how white laborers were ever going 
to come into competition with negroes here, at all. You never 
could depend on white men, and you couldn't drive them any ; they 
wouldn't stand it. Slaves Avere the only reliable laborers — you 
could command them and make them do what was right. 

From the manner in which he always talked of the white 
laboring people, it was evident that, although he placed them in 
some sort on an equality with himself, and that in his intercourse 
with them he wouldn't think of asserting for himself any 
superior dignity, or even feel himself to be patronizing them in 
not doing so, yet he, all the time, recognized them as a distinct 
and a rather despicable class, and wanted to have as little to do 
with them as he conveniently could. 

I have been once or twice told that the poor white people, 
meaning those, I suppose, who bring nothing to market to 
exchange for money but their labor, although they may own a 
cabin and a little furniture, and cultivate land enough to supply 
themselves with (maize) bread, are worse off in almost all respects 
than the slaves. They are said to be extremely ignorant 
and immoral, as well as indolent and unambitious. That their 
condition is not as unfortunate by any means as that of negroes, 
however, is most obvious, since from among them, men sometimes 
elevate themselves to positions and habits of usefulness, and 
respectability. They are said to " corrupt" the negroes, and to 
encourage them to steal, or to work for them at night and on 
Sundays, and to pay them with liquor, and also to constantly 


associate licentiously "with them. They seem, nevertheless, more 
than any other portion of the community, to hate and despise 
the negroes. 


In the midst of our conversation, one of the Hack girls had 
come into the room and stood still with her head dropped 
forward, staring at me from under her brows, without saying a 
word. When she had waited, in this way, perhaps two minutes, 
her master turned to her and asked what she wanted. 

" Miss Matty says Marta Ann go to bed now." 

But Martha Ann refused to budge ; after being told once or 
twice by her father to go with Eose, she came to me and lifted 
up her hands, I supposed to kiss me and go, but when I reached 
down, she took hold of my shoulders and climbed up on to my 
knees. Her father seemed to take no notice of this proceeding, 
but continued talking about guano ; Eose went to a comer of 
the fire-place, dropped down upon the floor and presently was 
asleep, leaning her head against the Avail. In about half an 
hour, the other negro girl came to the door, when Mr. Newman 
abruptly called out, "girl! take that child to bed!" and imme- 
diately got up himself and walked out. Eose roused herself 
and lifted Martha Ann out of my arms, and carried her off 
fast asleep. Mr. Newman returned holding a small candle in 
his hand, and, without entering the room, stood at the door and 
said, " I'll show you your bed if you are ready, sir." As he 
evidently meant, " I am ready to show you to bed if you will not 
refuse to go," I followed him up stairs. 

Into a large room, again, with six windows, with a fire-place, in 
which a few brands were smoking, with some wool spread thinly 


upon the floor in a corner; with a dozen small bundles of 
tobacco leaves ; with a lady's saddle ; with a deep feather-bed, 
covered with a bright patch-work quilt, on a maple bedstead, and 
without a single item of any other furniture whatever. Mr. 
Newman asked if I wanted the candle to undress by, I said yes, 
if he pleased, and waited a moment for him to set it down : as he 
did not do so I walked towards him, lifting my hand to take it. 
" No — I'll hold it," said he, and I then perceived that he had no 
candle-stick, but held the lean little dip in his hand: I 
remembered also that no candle had been brought into the 
"sitting-room," and that while we were at supper only one candle 
had stood upon the table, which had been immediately extin- 
guished when we rose, the room being lighted only from the 

I very quickly undressed and hung my clothes upon a bed- 
post : Mr. Newman looked on in silence until I had got into bed, 
when, with an abrupt " good-night, sir," he went out and shut 
the door. 


It was not until after I had consulted Sam the next morning, 
that I ventured to consider that my entertainment might be taken 
as a mere business transaction, and not as "genuine planter's 
hospitality," though this had become rather a ridiculous view of 
it, after a repetition of the supper, in all respects, had been eaten 
for breakfast, with equal moroseness on the part of my host and 
equal quietness on the part of his kind-looking little wife. I 
was, nevertheless, amused at the promptness with which he 
replied to my rather hesitating inquiry — what I might pay 
him for the trouble I had given him — " I reckon a dollar and a 
quarter will be right, sir." 



I have described, perhaps with tedious prolixity, what adven- 
tures befell me, and what scenes I passed through in my first 
day's random riding, for the purpose of giving an idea of the un- 
cultivated and unimproved — rather, sadly worn and misused — 
condition of some parts, and I judge, of a very large part, 
of all Eastern Virginia, and of the isolated, lonely, and dis- 
sociable aspect of the dwelling places of a large part of the 

Much the same general characteristics pervade the Slave 
States, everywhere, except in certain rich regions, or on the banks 
of some rivers, or in the vicinity of some great routes of travel and 
transportation, which have occasioned closer settlement or stimu- 
lated public spirit. For hours and hours one has to ride through 
the unlimited, continual, all-shadowing, all-embracing forest, fol- 
lowing roads, in the making of which no more labor has been given 
than was necessary to remove the timber which would obstruct the 
passage of wagons ; and even for days and days he may sometimes 
travel, and see never two dwellings of mankind within sight of 
each other ; only, at long distances, often several miles asunder, 
these isolated plantation patriarchates. If a traveler leaves the 
main road to go any distance, it is not to be imagined how diffi- 
cult it is for him to find his way from one house to any other in 
particular ; his only safety is in the fact that, unless there are 
mountains or swamps in the way, he is not likely to go many 
miles upon any wagon or horse track without coming to some 
white man's habitation. 


The country passed through, in the early part of my second 


day's ride, was very similar in general characteristics to that 
I have already described ; only that a rather larger portion of it 
was cleared, and plantations were more frequent. About eleven 
o'clock I crossed a bridge and came to the meeting-house 
I had been expecting to reach by that hour the previous day. 
It was in the midst of the woods, and the small clearing around 
it was still dotted with the stumps of the trees out of whose 
trunks it had been built ; for it was a log structure. In one 
end there was a single square port, closed by a sliding shutter, in 
the other end were two doors, both standing open. In front of 
the doors, a rude scaffolding had been made of poles and saplings, 
extending out twenty feet from the wall of the house, and this 
had been covered with boughs of trees, the leaves now wither- 
ed ; a few benches, made of split trunks of trees, slightly hewn 
with the axe, were arranged under this arbor, as if the religious 
service was sometimes conducted on the outside in preference to 
the interior of the edifice. Looking in, I saw that a gallery or loft 
extended from over the doors, across about one-third the length 
of the house, access to which was had by a ladder. At the op- 
posite end was a square, unpainted pulpit, and on the floor were 
rows of rude benches. The house was sufficiently lighted by 
crevices between the upper logs. 


Half an hour after this I arrived at the negro-quarters — a lit- 
tle hamlet of ten or twelve small and dilapidated cabins. Just 
beyond them was a plain farm-gate, at which several negroes 
were standing ; one of them, a well-made man, with an intel- 
ligent countenance and prompt manner, directed me how to find 
my way to his owner's house. It was still nearly a mile distant; 


and yet, until I arrived in its immediate vicinity, I saw no culti- 
vated field, and but one clearing. In the edge of this clearing, 
a number of negroes, male and female, lay stretched out upon the 
ground near a small smoking charcoal pit. Their master after- 
wards informed me that they were burning charcoal for the planta- 
tion blacksmith, using the time allowed them for holidays — from 
Christmas to New Year's — to earn a little money for themselves 
in this way. He paid them by the bushel for 1 it. When I said 
that I supposed he allowed them to take what wood they chose 
for this purpose, he replied that he had five hundred acres cov- 
ered with wood, which he would be very glad to have any one 
burn, or clear off in any Avay. Cannot some Yankee contrive a 
method of concentrating some of the valuable properties of this 
old-field pine, so that they may be profitably brought into use in 
more cultivated regions? Charcoal is now brought to New 
York from Virginia ; but when made from pine it is not very 
valuable, and will only bear transportation from the banks of the 
navigable rivers, whence it can be shipped, at one movement, to 
New York. Turpentine does not flow in sufficient quantity from 
this variety of the pine to be profitably collected, and for lumber 
it is of very small value. 

Mr. W.'s house was an old family mansion, which he had him- 
self remodeled in the Grecian style, and furnished with a large 
wooden portico. An oak forest had originally occupied the 
ground where it stood ; but this having been cleared and the 
soil worn out in cultivation by the previous proprietors, pine 
woods now surrounded it in every direction, a square of a few 
acres only being kept clear immediately about it. A number of 
the old oaks still stood in the rear of the house, and, until 
Mr. W. commenced— -his improvements, there had been some 



in its front. These, however, he had cut away, as interfering 
with the symmetry of his grounds, and in place of them had 
planted ailanthus trees in parallel rows. 

On three sides of the outer part of the cleared square 
there was a row of large and comfortable-looking negro- 
quarters, stables, tobacco-houses, and other offices, built of 

Mr. W. was one of the few large planters, of his vicinity, who 
still made the culture of tobacco their principal business. He said 
there was a general prejudice against tobacco, in all the tide- 
water region of the State, because it was through the culture of 
tobacco that the once fertile soils had been impoverished ; but he 
did not believe that, at the present value of negroes, their labor 
could be applied to the culture of grain, with any profit, except 
under peculiarly favorable circumstances. Possibly, the use of 
guano might make wheat a paying crop, but he still doubted. 
He had not used it, himself. Tobacco required fresh land, and 
was rapidly exhausting, but it returned more money, for the 
labor used upon it, than anything else ; enough more, in his 
opinion, to pay for the wearing out of the land. If he was well- 
paid for it, he did not know why he should not wear out his land. 

His tobacco-fields Avere nearly all in a distant and lower part 
of his plantation ; land which had been neglected before his time, 
in a great measure, because it had been sometimes flooded, and 
was, much of the year, too wet for cultivation. He was draining 
and clearing it, and it now brought good crops. 

He had had an Irish gang draining for him, by contract. He 
thought a negro could do twice as much work, in a day, as an 
Irishman. He had not stood over them and seen them at work, 
but judged entirely from the amount they accomplished: he 


thought a good gang of negroes would have got on twice as fast. 
He was sure they must have "trifled" a great deal, or they would 
have accomplished more than they had. He complained much, 
also, of their sprees and quarrels. I asked why he should 
employ Irishmen, in preference to doing the work with his own 
hands. "It's dangerous work (unhealthy?), and a negro's 
life is too valuable to be risked at it. If a negro dies, it's 
a considerable loss, you know." 

He afterwards said that his negroes never worked so hard 
as to tire themselves — always were lively, and ready to go off 
on a frolic at night. He did not think they ever did half a fail- 
day's work. They could not be made to work hard: they never 
would lay out their strength freely, and it was impossible to 
make them do it. 

This is just what I have thought when I have seen slaves 
at work — they seem to go through the motions of labor 
without putting strength into them. They keep their powers 
in reserve for their own use at night, perhaps. 

Mr. W. also said that he cultivated only the coarser and 
lower-priced sorts of tobacco, because the finer sorts required 
more pains-taking and discretion than it was possible to make 
a large gang of negroes use. " You can make a nigger work," 
he said, " but you cannot make Mm think" 

Although Mr. W. was very wealthy (or, at least, would be 
considered so anywhere at the North), and was a gentleman 
of education, his style of living was very farmer-like, and 
thoroughly Southern. On their plantations, generally, the 
Virginia gentlemen seem to drop their full-dress and con- 
strained town-habits, and to live a free, rustic, shooting-jacket 
life. We dined in a room that extended out, rearwardly, from 


the house, and which, in a Northern establishment, would have 
been the kitchen. The cooking was done in a detached log- 
cabin, and the dishes brought some distance, through the open 
air, by the servants. The outer door was left constantly open, 
though there was a fire in an enormous old fire-place, large 
enough, if it could have been distributed sufficiently, to have 
lasted a New York seamstress the best part of the winter. 
By the door, there was indiscriminate admittance to negro- 
children and fox-hounds, and, on an average, there were four 
of these, grinning or licking their chops, on either side of 
of my chair, all the time I was at the table. A stout woman 
acted as head waitress, employing two handsome little mulatto 
boys as her aids in communicating with the kitchen, from which 
relays of hot corn-bread, of an excellence quite new to me, were 
brought at frequent intervals.* There was no other bread, and 
but one vegetable served — sweet potato, roasted in ashes, and 
this, I thought, was the best sweet potato, also, that I ever had 
eaten ; but there were four preparations of swine's flesh, besides 
fried fowls, fried eggs, cold roast turkey, and opossum, cooked, 
I know not how, but it somewhat resembled baked sucking-pig. 
The only beverages on the table were milk and whisky. 

I was pressed to stay several days wnth Mr. W., and should 
have been glad to have accepted such hospitality, had not 
another engagement prevented. When I was about to leave, 

* There is probably some choice in the sort of corn used. The best corn- 
bread that I have eaten was made simply by wetting coarse meal with pure 
water, adding only a little salt, and baking in the form of a breakfast-roll. The 
addition of milk, butter, or eggs, damages it. I speak now from experience — 
having been, in my second journey in the South, often obliged to make my own 
bread. The only care required, except not to burn it, is to make sure, if possi- 
ble) — which it was not, generally, in Texas — that the corn is not mouldy. 


an old servant was directed to get a horse, and go with me, 
as guide, to the rail-road station at Col. Gillin's. He followed 
behind me, and I had great difficulty in inducing him to ride 
near enough to converse with me. I wished to ascertain from 
him how old the different stages of the old-field forest-growth, 
by the side of our road, might be ; but, for a long time, he was, 
or pretended to be, unable to comprehend my questions. When 
he did so, the most accurate information he could give me 
was, that he reckoned such a field (in which the pines were 
now some sixty feet high) had been planted with tobacco the 
year his old master bought him. He thought he was about 
twenty years old then, and that now he was forty. He had 
every appearance of being seventy. 

He frequently told me there was no need for him to go any 
further, and that it was a dead, straight road to the station, 
without any forks. As he appeared very eager to return, I was 
at length foolish enough to allow myself to be prevailed upon 
to dispense with his guidance ; gave him a quarter of a dollar 
for his time that I had employed, and went on alone. The 
road, which for a short distance further was plain enough, 
soon began to ramify, and, in half an hour, we were stumbling 
along a dark wood-path, looking eagerly for a house. At 
length, seeing one across a large clearing, we went through a 
long lane, opening gates and letting down bars, until we met 
two negroes, riding a mule, who were going to the plantation 
near the school-house, which we had seen the day before. 
Following them thither, we knew the rest of the way (Jane 
gave a bound and neighed, when we struck the old road, 
showing that she had been lost, as well as I, up to the moment). 

It was twenty minutes after the hour given in the time-table 


for the passage of the train, •when I reached the station, but 
it had not arrived ; nor did it make its appearance for a quarter 
of an hour longer; so I had plenty of time to deliver Tom's 
wife's message and take leave of Jane. I am sorry to say she 
appeared very indifferent, and seemed to think a good deal more 
of Tom than of me. Mr. W. had told me that the train would, 
probably, be half an hour behind its advertised time, and that 
I had no need to ride with haste, to reach it. I asked Col. 
Gillin if it would be safe to always calculate on the train being 
half an hour late : he said it would not ; for, although usually 
that much behind the time-table, it was sometimes half an hour 
ahead of it. So those, who would be safe, had commonly to 
wait an hour. People, therefore, who wished to go not more 
than twenty miles from home, would find it more convenient, 
and equally expeditious, taking all things into account, to go in 
their own conveyances — there being but few who lived so near 
the station that they would not have to employ a horse and 
servant to get to it. 


, . I have been visiting a farm, cultivated 

entirely by free-labor. The proprietor told me that he was first 
led to disuse slave-labor, not from any economical considerations, 
but hecause he had become convinced that there was an essential 
wrong in holding men in forced servitude with any other purpose 
than to benefit them alone, and because he was not willing to allow 
his own children to be educated as slave-masters. His father had 
been a large slave-holder, and he felt very strongly the bad influ- 
ence it had had on his own character. He wished me to be 


satisfied that Jefferson uttered a great truth when he asserted 
that slavery was more pernicious to the white race than the "black. 
Although, therefore, a chief part of his inheritance had been in 
slaves, he had liberated them all. 

Most of them had, by his advice, gone to Africa. These he had 
frequently heard from. Except a child that had been drowned, 
they were, at his last account, all alive, in general good health, 
and satisfactorily prospering. He had lately received a letter 
from one of them, who told him that he was " tidying to preach 
the Gospel," and who had evidently greatly improved, both 
intellectually and morally, since he left here. With regard to 
those going North, and the common opinion that they encoun- 
tered much misery, and would be much better off here, he said 
that it entirely depended on the general character and habits of 
the individual ; it was true of those who were badly brought up, 
and who had acquired indolent and vicious habits, especially if 
they were drunkards, but, if of some intelligence and well-trained, 
they generally represented themselves to be successful and con- 

He mentioned two remarkable cases, that had come under his 
own observation, of this kind. One was that of a man who had 
been free, but, by some fraud and informality of his papers, was 
reenslaved. He ran away, and afterwards negotiated, by cor- 
respondence, with his master, and purchased his freedom. This 
man he had accidentally met, fifteen years afterwards, in a North- 
ern city ; he was engaged in profitable and increasing business, 
and showed him, by his books, that he was possessed of property 
to the amount of ten thousand dollars. He was living a great 
deal more comfortably and wisely than ever his old master had 
done. The other case was that of a colored woman, who had 


obtained her freedom, and who became apprehensive that she also 
was about to be fraudulently made a slave again. She fled to 
Philadelphia, where she was nearly starved, at first. A little 
girl, who heard her begging in the streets to be allowed to work 
for bread, told her that her mother was wanting some washing 
done, and she followed her home. The mother, not knowing 
her, was afraid to trust her with the articles to be washed. She 
prayed so earnestly for the job, however — suggesting that she 
might be locked into a room until she had completed ifc — that it 
was given her. 

So she commenced life in Philadelphia. Ten years afterwards 
he had accidentally met her there ; she recognized him imme- 
diately, recalled herself to his recollection, manifested the greatest 
joy at seeing him, and asked him to come to her house, which he 
found a handsome three-story building, furnished really with ele- 
gance ; and she pointed out to him, from the window, three houses 
in the vicinity that she owned and rented. She showed great 
anxiety to have her children well educated, and was employing 
the best instructors for them which she could procure in Phila- 

This gentleman, notwithstanding his anti-slavery sentiments, 
by no means favors the running away of slaves, and thinks the 
Abolitionists have done immense harm to the cause they have at 
heart. He wishes Northerners would mind their business, and 
leave Slavery alone, say but little about it — nothing in the 
present condition of affairs at the South — and never speak of it 
but in a kind and calm manner. He would not think it right to 
return a fugitive slave ; but he would never assist one to escape. 
He has several times purchased slaves, generally such as his 
neighbors were obliged to sell, and who would otherwise have 


been taken South. This he had been led to do by the solicita- 
tion of some of their relatives. He had retained them in his pos- 
session until their labor had in some degree returned their cost to 
him, and he could afford to provide them with the means of going 
to Africa or the North, and a small means of support after 
their arrival. Having received some suitable training in his fami- 
ly, they had, without exception, been successful, ( and had fre- 
quently sent him money to purchase the freedom of relatives or 
friends they had left in slavery. 

He considered the condition of slaves to have much improved 
since the Kevolution, and very perceptibly during the last twenty 
years. The original stock of slaves, the imported Africans, he 
observed, probably required to be governed with much greater 
severity, and very little humanity was exercised or thought of 
with regard to them. The slaves of the present day are of a 
higher character ; in fact, he did not think more than half of them 
were full-blooded Africans. Public sentiment condemned the 
man who treated his slaves, with cruelty. The owners were 
mainly men of some cultivation, and felt a family attachment to 
their slaves, many of whom had been the playmates of their boy- 
hood. Nevertheless, they were frequently punished severely, 
under the impulse of temporary passion, often without delibera- 
tion, and on unfounded suspicion. This was especially the 
case where they were left to overseers, who, though sometimes 
men of intelligence and piety, were more often coarse, brutal, and 
licentious ; drinking men, wholly unfitted for the responsibility 
imposed on them. 

He had read "Uncle Tom's Cabin;" mentioned several points 
in which he thought it wrong — that Uncle Tom was too highly 
painted, for instance ; that such a character could not exist in, 


or spring out of Slavery, and that no gentleman of Kentucky 
or Virginia would have allowed himself to be in the position 
with a slave-dealer in which Mr. Shelby is represented — but he 
acknowledged that cases of cruelty and suffering, equal to any 
described in it, might be found. In his own neighborhood, some 
time ago, a man had been whipped to death ; and he recollected 
several that had been maimed for life, by harsh and hasty pun- 
ishment ; but the whole community were indignant when such 
things occurred, and any man guilty of them would be without 
associates, except of similar character. 

The opinions of this gentleman must not, of course, be con- 
sidered as representative of those of the South in general, by any 
means ; but as to facts, he is a competent, and, I believe, a wholly 
candid and unprejudiced witness. He is much respected, and on 
terms of friendship with all his neighbors, though they do not 
like his views on this subject. He told me, however, that one 
of them, becoming convinced of their correctness some time ago, 
freed his slaves, and moved to Ohio. As to " Uncle Tom," it 
is generally criticised very severely, and its representations of 
Slavery indignantly denied. I observe that it is not placarded 
outside the booksellers' stores, though the whole fleet of gun- 
boats that have been launched after it show their colors bravely. 
It must, however, be a good deal read here, as I judge from the 
frequent allusions I hear made to it. 

With regard to the value of slave-labor, this gentleman is 
confident tbat, at present, he has the advantage in employing 
freemen instead of it. It has not been so until of late, the 
price of slaves having much advanced within ten years, while 
immigration has made free white laborers more easy to be pro- 


He has heretofore had some difficulty in obtaining hands when 
he needed them, and has suffered a good deal from the demoral- 
izing influence of adjacent slave-labor, the men, after a few 
months' residence, inclining to follow the customs of the slaves 
with regard to the amount of work they should do in a day, or 
their careless mode of operation. He has had white and black 
Virginians, sometimes Germans, and latterly Irish. Of all these, 
he has found the Irish on the whole the best. The poorest have 
been the native white Virginians ; next, the free blacks : and though 
there have been exceptions, he has not generally paid these as 
high as one hundred dollars a year, and has thought them less 
worth their wages than any he has had. At present, he has two 
white natives and two free colored men, but both the latter were 
brought up in his family, and are worth twenty dollars a year 
more than the average. The free black, he thinks, is generally 
worse than the slave, and so is the poor white man. He also 
employs, at present, four Irish hands, and is expecting two more 
to arrive, who have been recommended to him, and sent for by 
those he has. He pays the Irishmen $120 a year, and boards 
them. He has had them for $100 ; but these are all excellent men, 
and well worth their price. They are less given to drinking than 
any men he has ever had ; and one of them first suggested im- 
provements to him in his farm, that he is now carrying out with 
prospects of considerable advantage. House-maids, Irish girls, 
he pays $3 and $6 a month. 

He does not apprehend that in future he shall have any diffi- 
culty in obtaining steady and reliable men, that will accomplish 
much more work than any slaves. There are some operations, 
such as carting and spreading dung, and all work with the fork, 
spade, or shovel, at which his Irishmen will do, he thinks, over 


fifty per cent, more in a day than any negroes lie has ever known. 
On the whole, he is satisfied that at present free-labor is more 
profitable than slave-labor, though his success is not so evident 
that he would be willing to have attention particularly called to 
it. His farm, moreover, is now in a transition state from one 
system of husbandry to another, and appearances are temporarily 
more unfavorable on that account. 

The wages paid for slaves, when they are hired for agricultural 
labor, do not differ at present, he says, from those which he pays 
for his free laborers. In both cases the hiring party boards the 
laborer, but, in addition to money and board, the slave-employer 
has to furnish clothing, and is subject, without redress, to any 
losses which may result from the carelessness or malevolence of 
the slave. He also has to lose his time if he is unwell, or when 
from any cause he is absent or unable to work. 

The slave, if he is indisposed to work, and especially if he is 
not treated well, or does not like the master who has hired him, 
will sham sickness — even make himself sick or lame — that he 
need not work. But a more serious loss frequently arises, when 
the slave, thinking he is worked too hard, or being angered by pun- 
ishment or unkind treatment, " getting the sulks," takes to " the 
swamp," and comes back when he has a mind to. Often this 
will not be till the year is up for which he is engaged, when he 
will return to his owner, who, glad to find his property safe, and 
that it has not died in the swamp, or gone to Canada, forgets to 
punish him, and immediately sends him for another year to a 
new master. 

" But, meanwhile, how does the negro support life in the 
swamp?" I asked. 

"Oh, he gets sheep and pigs and calves, and fowls and 


turkeys ; sometimes they will kill a small cow. We have often 
seen the fires, where they were cooking them, through the woods, 
in the swamp yonder. If it is cold, he will crawl under a fodder- 
stack, or go into the cabins with some of the other negroes, and 
in the same way, you see, he can get all the corn, or almost 
anything else he wants. 

"He steals them from his master 1 ?" 

" From any one ; frequently from me. I have had many a 
sheep taken by them." 

" It is a common thing, then V 

" Certainly, it is, very common, and the loss is sometimes 
exceedingly provoking. One of my neighbors here was going to 
build, and hired two mechanics for a year. Just as he was ready 
to put his house up, the two men, taking offense at something, 
both ran away, and did not come back at all, till their year was 
out, and then their owner immediately hired them out again to 
another man." 

These negroes " in the swamp," he said, were often hunted 
after, but it was very difficult to find them, and, if caught, they 
would run again, and the other negroes would hide and assist 
them. Dogs to track them he had never known to be used in 


Saturday, Dec. 25. From Christmas to New-Year's Day, 
most of the slaves, except house servants, enjoy a freedom from 
labor; and Christmas is especially holiday, or Saturnalia, with 
them. The young ones began last night firing crackers, and I 
do not observe that they are engaged in any other amusement 


to-day ; the older ones are generally getting drunk, and making 
business for the police. I have seen large gangs coming in from 
the country, and these contrast much in then* general appearance 
with the town negroes. The latter are dressed expensively, and 
frequently more elegantly than the whites. They seem to he 
spending money freely, and I observe that they, and even the 
slaves that wait upon me at the hotel, often have watches, and 
other articles of value. 

The slaves have a good many ways of obtaining " spending 
money," which, though in law. belonging to their owner, as the 
property of a son under age does to his father, they are never 
dispossessed of, and use for their own gratification, with even less 
restraint than a wholesome regard for their health and moral 
condition may be thought to require. A Eichmond paper, com- 
plaining of the liberty allowed to slaves in this respect, as 
calculated to foster an insubordinate spirit, speaks of their 
" champagne suppers." The police broke into a gambling cellar a 
few nights since, and found about twenty negroes at " high play," 
with all the usual accessories of a first-class " Hell." It is 
mentioned that, among the number taken to the watch-house, 
and treated with lashes the next morning, there were some who 
had previously enjoyed a high reputation for piety, and others of 
a very elegant or foppish appearance. 

Passing two negroes in the street, I heard the following : 

" Workin' in a tobacco factory all de year roun', an' 

come Christmas, only twenty dollars! Workin' mighty hard, 
too — up to 12 o'clock o' night very often — an' then to hab a 
nigger oberseah !" 

" A nigger !" 

" Yes — dat's it, yer see. Wouldn't care if 'twarnt for dat. 


Nothin' but a dirty nigger ! orderin' 'round, jes' as if he was a 
wite man !" 

It is the custom of tobacco manufacturers to hire slaves and free 
negroes at a certain rate of wages per year. A task of 45 lbs. 
per day is given them to work up, and all that they choose to do 
more than this they are paid for — payment being made once a 
fortnight ; and invariably this over-wages is used by the slave 
for himself, and is usually spent in drinking, licentiousness and 
gambling. The man was grumbling that he had saved but $20 
to spend at the holidays. One of the manufacturers offered to 
show me, by his books, that nearly all gained by overwork $5 a 
month, many $20, and some as much as $28. 


Sitting with a company of smokers last night, one of them, to 
show me the manner in which a slave of any ingenuity or 
cunning would manage to avoid working for his master's profit, 
narrated the following anecdote. He was executor of an estate in 
which, among other negroes, there was one very smart man, who, 
he knew perfectly well, ought to be earning for the estate $150 a 
year, and who could do it if he chose, yet whose wages for a year, 
being let out by the day or job, had amounted to but $18, while 
he had paid for medical attendance upon him $45. Having failed 
in every other way to make him earn anything, he proposed to 
him that he should purchase his freedom and go to Philadelphia, 
where he had a brother. He told him if he would earn a certain 
sum ($400 I believe), and pay it over to the estate for himself, 
he would give him his free papers. The man agreed to the 
arrangement, and by his overwork in a tobacco factory, and some 
assistance from his free brother, soon paid the sum agreed upon, 


and was sent to Philadelphia. A few weeks afterwards he met 
him in the street, and asked him why he had returned. " Oh, I 
don't like dat Philadelphy, massa ; ant no chance for colored 
folks dere ; spec' if I'd been a runaway, de wite folks dere take 
care o' me ; but I couldn't git anythin' to do, so I jis borrow ten 
dollar of my broder, and cum back to old Virginny." 

" But you know the law forbids your return. I wonder that 

you are not afraid to be seen here ; I should think Mr. (an 

officer of police) would take you up." 

" Oh ! I look out for dat, Massr, I juss hire myself out to 
Mr. ■ himself, ha ! ha ! He tink I your boy." 

And so it proved, the officer, thinking that he was permitted to 
hire himself out, and tempted by the low wages at which he 
offered himself, had neglected to ask for his written permission, 
and had engaged him for a year. He still lived with the officer, 
and was an active, healthy, good servant to him. 


A well-informed capitalist and slave-holder remarked, that 
negroes could not be employed in cotton factories. I said that I 
understood they were so in Charleston, and some other places at 
the South. 

"It may be so, yet" he answered, "but they will have to give 
it up." 

The reason was, he said, that the negro could never be trained 
to exercise judgment ; he cannot be made to use his mind ; he 
always depends on machinery doing its own work, and cannot be 
made to watch it. He neglects it until something is broken or 
there is great waste. " We have tried reward and punishments, 
but it makes no difference. It's his nature and you cannot 


change it. All men are indolent and have a disinclination to 
labor, but this is a great deal stronger in the African race than in 
any other. In working niggers, we must always calculate that 
they will not labor at all except to avoid punishment, and they 
will never do more than just enough to save themselves from 
being punished, and no amount of punishment will prevent their 
working carelessly and indifferently. It always seems on the 
plantation as if they took pains to break all the tools and spoil 
all the cattle that they possibly can, even when they know they'll 
be directly punished for it." 

As to rewards, he said, " They only want to support life, they 
will not work for anything more ; and in this country it would 
be hard to prevent their getting that." I thought this opinion 
of the power of rewards was not exactly confirmed by the narra- 
tive we had just heard, but I said nothing. " If you could 
move," he continued, " all the white people from the whole sea- 
board district of Virginia and give it up to the negroes that are 
on it now, just leave them to themselves, in ten years time 
there would not be an acre of land cultivated, and nothing would 
be produced, except what grew spontaneously." 

The Hon. Willoughby Newton, by the way, seems to think that 
if it had not been for the introduction of guano, a similar deso- 
lation would have soon occurred without the Africanization 
of the country. He is reported to have said : 

"I look upon the introduction of guano, and the success 
attending its application to our barren lands, in the light 
of a special interposition of Divine Providence, to save the 
northern neck of Virginia from reverting entirely into its former 
state of wilderness and utter desolation. Until the discovery 

of guano — more valuable to us than the mines of California — 


I looked upon the possibility of renovating our soil, of ever 
bringing it to a point capable of producing remunerating crops, 
as utterly hopeless. Our up-lands were all worn out, and our 
bottom-lands fast failing, and if it had not been for guano, 
to revive our last hope, a few years more and the whole country 
must have been deserted by all who desired to increase their own 
wealth, or advance the cause of civilization by a proper culti- 
vation of the earth." 


"But are they not improving?" said I; "that is a point 
in which I am much interested, and I should be glad to know 
what is your observation? Have they not, as a race, improved 
during the last hundred years, do you not think 1 ?" 

" Oh, yes indeed, very greatly. During my time — I can 
remember how they were forty years ago — they have improved 
two thousand per cent. / Don't you think so V he asked another 

"Yes; certainly." 

" And you may find them now, on the isolated old plantations 
in the back country, just as I recollect them when I was a boy, 
stupid and moping, and with no more intelligence than when 
they first came from Africa. But all about where the country is 
much settled their condition is vastly ameliorated. They are 
treated much better, they are fed better, and they have much 
greater educational privileges." 


" Educational privileges?" I asked, in surprise. 

" T mean by preaching and religious instruction. They have 


the Bible read to them a great deal, and there is preach- 
ing for them all over the country. They have preachers 
of their own; right smart ones they are, too, some of 

" Do they V said I. " I thought that was not allowed 
by law." 

" Well, it is not — that is, they are not allowed to have meet- 
ings without some white man is present. They must not preach 
unless a white man hears what they say. However, they do. 
On my plantation, they always have a meeting on Sundays, 
and I have sometimes, when I have been there, told my 
overseer, — 'You must go up there to the meeting, you 
know the law requires it;' and he would start as if he was 
going, but would just look in and go by; he wasn't going to 
wait for them." 


He then spoke of a minister, whom he owned, and described 
him as a very intelligent man. He knew almost the whole 
of the Bible by heart. He was a fine-looking man — a fine head 
and a very large frame. He had been a sailor, and had been in 
New Orleans and New York, and many foreign ports. " He 
could have left me at any time for twenty years, if he had 
wished to," he said. "I asked him once how he would like 
to live in New York ? " Oh, he did not like New York at all ! 
niggers were not treated well there — there was more distinction 
made between them and white folks than there was here. ' Oh, 
dey ain't no place in de worl like Ole Virginny for niggers, 
massa,' says he." 

Another gentleman gave similar testimony. 



I said I supposed that they -were much better off, more 
improved intellectually, and more kindly treated in Virginia 
than further South. He said I was mistaken in both respects — 
that in Louisiana, especially, they were more intelligent, be- 
cause the amalgamation of the races was much greater, and they 
were treated with more familiarity by the whites; besides 
which, the laws of Louisiana were much more favorable to them. 
For instance, they required the planter to give slaves 200 
pounds of pork a year : and he gave a very apt anecdote, 
showing the effect of this law, but which, at the same time, 
made it evident that a Virginian may be accustomed to neglect 
providing sufficient food for his force, and that they sometimes 
suffer greatly for want of it. I was assured, however, that 
this was very rare — that, generally, the slaves were well pro- 
vided for — always allowed a sufficient quantity of meal, and, 
generally, of pork — were permitted to raise pigs and poultry, 
and in summer could always grow as many vegetables as they 
wanted. It was observed, however, that they frequently 
neglect to provide for themselves in this way, and live mainly 
on meal and bacon. If a man does not provide well for his 
slaves, it soon becomes known, he gets the name of a " nigger 
killer," and loses the respect of the community. 

The general allowance of food was thought to be a peck and 
a half of meal, and three pounds of bacon a week. This, it was 
observed, is as much meal as they can eat, but they would be 
glad to have more bacon ; sometimes they receive four pounds, 
but it is oftener that they get less than three. It is distributed 
to them on Saturday nights ; or, on the better managed planta- 
tions, sometimes, on Wednesday, to prevent their using it ex- 


travagantly, or selling it for whisky on Sunday. This distribu- 
tion is called the " drawing," and is made by the overseer to all 
the heads of families or single negroes. Except on the smallest 
plantations, where the cooking is done in the house of the 
proprietor, there is a cook-house, furnished with a large cop- 
per for boiling, and an oven. Every night the negroes take 
their "mess," for the next clay's breakfast and dinner, to the 
cook, to be prepared for the next clay. Custom varies as to 
the time it is served out to them ; sometimes at morning and 
noon, at other times at noon and night. Each negro marks 
his meat by cuts, so that he shall know it from the rest, and 
they observe each other's rights with regard to this, punctili- 

After breakfast has been eaten early in the cabins, at sunrise 
or a little before in winter, and perhaps a little later in summer, 
they go to the field. At noon dinner is brought to them, and, 
unless the work presses, they are allowed two hours' rest. Very 
punctually at sunset they stop work and are at liberty, except 
that a squad is detached once a week for shelling corn, to go to 
the mill for the next week's drawing of meal. Thus they work 
in the field about eleven hours a day on an average. Returning 
to the cabins, wood " ought to have been" carted for them ; but 
if it has not been, they then go to the woods and " tote" it home 
for themselves. They then make a fire — a big, blazing fire at 
this season, for the supply of fuel is unlimited — and cook their 
own supper, which will be a bit of bacon fried, often with eggs, 
corn-bread baked in the spider after the bacon, to absorb the fat, 
and perhaps some sweet potatoes roasted in the ashes. Imme- 
diately after supper they go to sleep, often lying on the floor or 
a bench in preference to a bed. About two o'clock they very 


generally rouse up and cook and eat, or eat cold, what they call 
their " mornin' bit ;" then sleep again till breakfast. 

I think the slaves generally (no one denies that there are 
j exceptions) have plenty to eat ; probably are fed better than 
j the proletarian class of any other part of the world. I think 
that they generally save from their ration of meal. My in- 
formant said that commonly as much as five bushels of meal was 
sent to town by his hands every week, to be sold for them. 
Upon inquiry, he almost always found that it belonged to 
only two or three individuals, who had traded for it with the 
rest; he added, that too often the exchange was for whisky, 
which, against his rules, they obtained of some rascally white 
people in the neighborhood, and kept concealed. They were very 
fond of whisky, and sometimes much injured themselves with 

To show me how well they were supplied witb eggs, he said tbat 
once a vessel came to anchor, becalmed, off his place, and the cap- 
tain came to him and asked leave to purchase some eggs of his 
people. He gave him permission, and called the cook to collect 
them for him. The cook asked how many she should bring. 
" Oh, all you can get," he answered — and she returned after 
a time, with several boys assisting her, bringing nearly two 
bushels, all the property of the slaves, and which they were 
willing to sell at four cents a dozen. 

One of the smokers explained to me that it is very bad economy, 
not to allow an abundant supply of food to "a man's force." 
The negroes are fond of good living, and, if not well provided 
for, know how to provide for themselves. It is, also, but 
simple policy to have them well lodged and clothed. If they 
do not have comfortable cabins and sufficient clothing, they 


will take cold, and be laid up. He lost a very valuable negro, 
once, from having neglected to provide him with shoes. 


, The houses of the slaves are usually log-cabins, of various 
degrees of comfort and commodiousness. At one end there is 
a ' great open fire-place, which is exterior to the wall of the 
house, being made of clay in an inclosure, about eight feet 
square and high, of logs. The chimney is sometimes of brick, 
but more commonly of lath or split sticks, laid up like log-work 
and plastered with mud. They enjoy great roaring fires, and, 
as the common fuel is pitch pine, the cabin, at night when the 
door is open, seen from a distance, appears like a fierce furnace. 
The chimneys often catch fire, and the cabin is destroyed. Very 
little precaution can be taken against this danger.* Several 
cabins are placed near together, and they are called " the 
quarters." On a plantation of moderate size there will be but 
one " quarters." The situation chosen for it has reference to 
convenience of obtaining water from springs and fuel from the 
woods. On some of the James Eiver plantations there are 
larger houses, boarded and made ornamental. In these, eight 
families, each having a distinct sleeping-room and lock-up 

* "An Ingenious Negro. — In Lafayette, Miss., a few days ago, a negro, 
who, with his wife and three children, occupied a hut upon the plantation of 
Col. Peques, was very much annoyed by fleas. Believing that they congre- 
gated in great numbers beneath the house, he resolved to destroy them by fire ; 
and accordingly, one night when his family were asleep, he raised a plank in 
the floor of the cabin, and, procuring an armful of shucks, scattered them on 
the ground beneath, and lighted them. The consequence was, that the cabin 
was consumed, and the whole family, with the exception of the man who 
lighted the fire, was burned to death." — Journal of Commerce. 


closets, and every two having a common kitchen or living-room, 
are accommodated. 


As to the clothing of the slaves on the plantations, they are 
said to be usually furnished by their owners or masters, every 
year, each with a coat and trousers, of a coarse woolen or 
woolen and cotton stuff (mostly made, especially for this purpose, 
in Providence, E. I.), for Winter, trousers of cotton osnaburghs 
for Summer, sometimes with a jacket also of the same ; two 
pairs of strong shoes, or one pair of strong boots and one of 
lighter shoes for harvest ; three shirts ; one blanket, and one 
felt hat. 

The women have two dresses of striped cotton, three 
shifts, two pairs of shoes, etc. The women lying-in are kept at 
knitting short, sacks, from cotton which, in Southern Virginia, 
is usually raised, for this purpose, on the farm, and these are 
also given to the negroes. They also purchase clothing for 
themselves, and, I notice especially, are well supplied with hand- 
kerchiefs which the men frequently, and the women nearly al- 
ways, wear on their heads. On Sundays and holidays they 
usually look very smart, but when at work, very ragged 
and slovenly. 

At the conclusion of our bar-room session, some time after 
midnight, as we were retiring to our rooms, our pr ogress 
up stairs and along the corridors was several times impeded, by 
negroes lying fast asleep, in their usual clothes only, upon the 
floor. I asked why they were not abed, and was answered by 
a gentleman, that negroes never wanted to go to bed; they 
always preferred to sleep upon the floor. 



As I was walking in the outskirts of the town this morning, 
I saw squads of negro and white boys together, pitching pennies 
and firing crackers in complete fraternization. The white boys 
manifested no superiority, or assumption of it, over the dark 

An old, palsied negro-woman, very thinly and very raggedly 
clad, met me and spoke to me. I could not, from the trembling 
incoherency of her voice, understand what she said, but she was 
evidently begging, and I never saw a more pitiable object of 
charity at the North. She was, perhaps, a free person, with no 
master and no system to provide for her. 

I saw, for the first time in my life, two or three young white 
women smoking tobacco in clay pipes. From their manner it 
was evidently a well-formed habit, and one which they did 
not suspect there was occasion for them to practice clandestinely, 
or be ashamed of. 


With regard to the moral and religious condition of the slaves, 
I cannot, either from what I observe, or from what is told me, 
consider it in any way gratifying. They are forbidden by 
law to meet together for worship, or for the purpose of mutual 
improvement. In the cities, there are churches especially for 
them, in which the exercises are conducted by white clergymen. 
In the country, there is usually a service, after that. for the whites 
especially, in all the churches, which, by the way, are not very 
thickly scattered. In one parish, about twenty miles from Eich- 
mond, I was told that the colored congregation in the afternoon 
is much smaller than that of the whites in the morning ; and it 


was thought not more than one-fifth of the negroes living within 
a convenient distance were in the habit of attending it ; and of 
these many came late, and many more slept through the greater 
part of the service. 

A goodly proportion of them, I am told, "profess religion," 
and are received into the fellowship of the churches ; but it is 
evident, of the greater part even of these, that their idea of reli- 
gion, and the standard of morality which they deem consistent 
with a "profession" of it, is very degraded. That they are sub- 
ject to intense excitements, often really maniacal, which they 
consider to be religious, is true ; but as these are described, I 
cannot see that they indicate anything but a miserable system 
of superstition, the more painful that it employs some forms and 
words ordinarily connected with true Christianity. 

A Virginia correspondent of the iV. Y. Times, writing upon the 
general religious condition of the State, and of the comparative 
strength and usefulness of the different churches, says : 

" The Baptists also number (in Eastern Virginia) 44,000 colored 
members. This makes a great difference. Negroes join the church 
— perhaps in a great majority of cases — with no ideas of religion. I 
have but little confidence in their religious professions. Many of 
them I hope are very pious ; but many of them are great scoundrels — 
perhaps the great majority of them — regardless of their church pro- 
fession as a rule of conduct. They are often baptized in great 
numbers, and the Baptist Church (so exemplary in so much) is to 
blame, I fear, in the ready admission it gives to the negroes. 

" The Baptist Church generally gets the negroes — where there are 
no Baptists, the Methodist. Immersion strikes their fancy. It is a 
palpable, overt act, that their imagination can take hold of. The 
ceremony mystically impresses them, as the ceremonies of Roman- 
ism affect the devotees of that connection. They come up out of 
the water, and believe they see ' the Lord.' In their religion, 
negroes are excessively superstitious. They have all sorts of 


'experiences,' and enjoy the most wonderful revelations. Visions 
of the supernatural are of nightly occurrence, and the most absurd 
circumstances are invested with some marvelous significance. I 
have heard that the great ordeal, in their estimation, a * seeker ' 
had to pass, was being held over the infernal flames by a thread or 
a hair. If the thread does not break, the suspendee is ' in the 

"It is proper, therefore, I think, to consider this circumstance, in 
estimating the strength of a Church, whose communicants embrace 
such a number of negroes. Of the Methodists, in Eastern Virginia, 
some six or seven thousand are colored." 

This condition of the slaves is not necessarily a reproach to 
those whose duty it more particularly is to instruct and preach 
the true Gospel to them. It is, in a great degree, a necessary 
result of the circumstances of their existence. The possession 
of arbitrary power has always, the world over, tended irresistibly 
to destroy humane sensibility, magnanimity, and truth. Look 
at the sovereigns of Europe in our day. There is not one, 
having sovereign power, that would not, over and over again, for 
acts of which he is notoriously and undeniably guilty, under our 
laws, be confined with the most depraved of criminals. It is, I 
have no doubt, utterly impossible, except as a camel shall enter 
the eye of a needle, for a man to have the will of others habitually 
under his control, without its impairing his sense of justice, his 
power of sympathy, his respect for manhood, and his worshipful 
love of the Infinite Father. 

But it is much more evident that involuntary subjection 
directly tends to turpitude and demoralization. True, it may 
tend also to the encouragement of some beautiful traits, to 
meekness, humility, and a kind of generosity and unselfishness. 
But where has it not ever been accompanied by the loss of the 
nobler virtues of manhood, especially of the noblest, the most 


essential of all, that without which all others avail nothing for 
good : Truth. What is the matter with the Irish % No one 
can rely on them — they cannot rely on one another. Though 
sensitive to duty, and in their way conscientious, they absolutely 
are not able to comprehend a rule, a law ; and that a man can 
be fixed by his promise they have never thought. A promise 
with them signifies merely an expressed intention. Irishmen that 
have long associated with us, we can depend on, for we have 
their confidence ; but to a stranger still, their word is not worth 
a farthing. They are inveterate falsifiers, on the general prin- 
ciple that no man can want information of them but for his own 
good, and that good can only exist to their injury. What is the 
cause of this ? their religion ? — that to which it is attributed in 
their religion is the effect of it, more than the cause. It is the 
subjection of generations of this people to the will of landlords, 
corrupted to fiendish insensibility by the long continued posses- 
sion of nearly arbitrary power. The capacity of mind for truth 
and reliance has been all but lost, by generations of unjust sub- 

It is the same — only in some respects better, and some far 
worse — even already, with the African slave of the South. 
Every Virginian acknowledges it. Eeligion, to call that by the 
name which they do, has become subject to it. " They will lie 
in their very prayers to God." 

I find illustrations of the trouble that this vice occasions 
on every hand here. I just heard this, for instance, from a lady. 
A house-maid, who had the reputation of being especially 
devout, was suspected by her mistress of having stolen from her 
bureau several trinkets. She was charged with the theft, and 
vociferously denied it. She was watched, and the articles dis- 


covered openly displayed on her person as she went to church. 
She still, on her return, denied having them — was searched, and 
they were found in her pockets. When reproached by her 
mistress, and lectured on the wickedness of lying and stealing, 
she replied with the confident air of knowing the ground she 
stood upon, " Law, mam, don't say I's wicked ; ole Aunt Ann 
says it allers right for us poor colored people to 'popiate what- 
ever of de wite folk's blessins de Lord puts in our way." Old 
Aunt Ann was a sort of mother in the colored Israel of the 

It is told me as a singular fact, that everywhere on the planta- 
tions, the agrarian notion has become a fixed point of the negro 
system of ethics : that the result of labor belongs of right to the 
laborer, and on this ground, even the religious feel justified in 
using "Massa's" property for their own temporal benefit. This 
they term " taking," and it is never admitted to be a reproach to 
a man among them that he is charged with it, though " steal- 
ing," or taking from another than their master, and particularly 
from one another, is so. They almost universally pilfer from the 
household stores when they have a safe opportunity. Thieving, 
by the way, is not a national vice of the Irish, because the 
opportunities and temptations for it have been too small to have 
bred the habit. 

Jefferson says of the slaves : 

" Whether further observation will or will not verify the conjec- 
ture, that nature has been less bountiful to them in the endowments 
of the head, I believe that in those of the heart she will have done 
them justice. That disposition to theft, with which they have been 
branded, must be ascribed to their situation, and not to any depra- 
vity of the moral sense. The man in whose favor no laws of pro- 
perty exist, probably feols himself less bound to respect those made 


in favor of others. When arguing for ourselves, we lay it down as 
fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right ; 
that without this, they are mere arbitrary rules, founded in force, 
and not in conscience, and it is a problem which I give to the master 
to solve, whether the religious precepts against the violation of pro- 
perty were not framed for him as well as his slave ? and whether the 
slave may not as justifiably take a little from one who has taken all 
from him, as he may slay one who would slay him ? That a change 
of the relations in which a man is placed should change his ideas of 
moral right and wrong, is neither new, nor peculiar to the color of 
the blacks. Homer tells us it was so, 2,600 years ago : 

'• ' Jove* fixed it certain, that whatever day 

Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away.' " 

The following is a specimen of the most careful kind of 
preaching, ordinarily addressed by the white clergy to the black 
sheep of their flocks. It is by Bishop Meade, of the Church 
of England in Virginia, and is copied from a published volume 
of sermons, recommended by him to masters and mistresses of 
his diocese, for use in their households. 

" And think within yourselves what a terrible thing it would be, 
after all your labors and sufferings in this life, to be turned into hell 
in the next life, and, after wearing out your bodies in service here, 
to go into a far worse slavery when this is over, and your poor souls 
be delivered over into the possession of the devil, to become his 
slaves forever in hell, without any hope of ever getting free from 
it ! If, therefore, you would be God's freemen in heaven, you must 
strive to be good, and serve him here on earth. Your bodies, you 
know, are not your own ; they are at the disposal of those you belong 
to ; but your precious souls are still your own, which nothing can 
take from you, if it be not your own fault. Consider well, then, 
that, if you lose your souls by leading idle, wicked fives here, you 
have got nothing by it in this world, and you have lost your all in 
the next. For your idleness and wickedness are generally found 
out, and your bodies suffer for it here ; and what is far worse, if 
you do not repent and amend, your unhappy souls will suffer for it 


"Having thus shown you the chief duties you owe to your great 
Master in heaven, I now come to lay before you the duties you owe 
to your masters and mistresses here upon earth. And for this you 
have one general rule, that you ought always to carry in your minds ; 
and that is to do all service for them as if you did it for God himself. 

" Poor creatures ! jou. little consider, when you are idle and neg- 
lectful of your masters* business, when you steal, and waste, and 
hurt any of their substance, when you are saucy and impudent, when 
you are telling them lies and deceiving them, or when you prove 
stubborn and sullen, and will not do the work you are set about 
without stripes and vexation, — you do not consider, I say, that what 
faults you are guilty of towards your masters and mistresses are 
faults done against God himself, who hath set your masters and 
mistresses oyer you in his own stead, and expects that you would 
do for them just as you would do for him. And pray do not think 
that I want to deceive you when I tell you that your masters and 
mistresses are God's overseers, and that, if you are faulty towards 
them, God himself will punish you severely for it in the next world, 
unless you repent of it, and strive to make amends by your faith- 
fulness and diligence for the time to come ; for God himself hath 
declared the same. 

"And in the first place, you are to be obedient and subject to 
your masters in all things. * * * And Christian ministers are 
commanded to ' exhort servants to be obedient unto their own 
masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering them 
again, or gainsaying.' * * * You are to be faithful and honest 
to your masters and mistresses, not purloining or wasting their goods 
or substance, but showing all good fidelity in all things. * * * 
Do not your masters, under God, provide for you ? And how shall 
they be able to do this, to feed and to clothe you, unless you take 
honest care of everything that belongs to them ? Remember that 
God requires this of you ; and if you are not afraid of suffering for 
it here, you cannot escape the vengeance of Almighty God, who will 
judge between you and your masters, and make you pay severely, 
in the next world, for all the injustice you do them here. And 
though you could manage so cunningly as to escape the eyes and 
hands of man, yet think what a dreadful thing it is to fall into the 
hands of the living God, who is able to cast both soul and body into 


That wicked historian, Volney, "shows up" this sort of 
preaching, in the following suppositious debate, which, no doubt, 
has often been realized in the minds of the slaves : 

" Then the Spiritual Governors said : ' There is no other way. As 
the People is superstitious, it is necessary to frighten them by the 
name of God and Religion.' So they said : 

"'Our dear brothers — our children! God has appointed us to 
govern you.' 

" 5. ' Show us your heavenly authority.' 

" 31. ' You must have faith: Reason deceives.' 

" S. ' Do you rule us without Reason ?' 

" M. ' God wishes Peace : Religion prescribes Obedience.' 

" S. 'Peace supposes Justice: Obedience wishes to know the 

" M. ' One is here below only to suffer.' 

" <S. ' Show us an example !' 

" M. ' Do you wish to live without God and without Kings V 

" S. ' We would live without Tyrants.' " 

[My aunt, who, on account of my habitual carelessness — " not 
to suggest occasional approach to something like vulgarity" — of 
style, is good enough to assist me in reading proofs, thinks that 
I ought not to make use of a quotation from this heterodox 
historian, without a clearer indication of my own opinions. 
The Episcopalians, in the words of a certain un-eminent South- 
ern divine, " are a high-sailin' set," and easily offended, and The 
Churchman, she thinks, will be sure to suggest doubts of my 
rigid orthodoxy.] 

A great many bad things have been furnished with props out 
of Scripture, by bad men, and a great many more by mistaken 
men, and the venerable Virginia prelate is not infallible. Exactly 
what such passages as he quotes were intended to teach, it is 
not for me to define and limit ; but that they were meant to 


encourage any men, immortal and accountable, under all circum- 
stances and forever, to submit, in acquiescent stupefaction, to 
Slavery, I venture to discredit. Because it is contrary to nature 
and to common sense, and I think it takes a more hair-splitting 
mind, than negroes are generally endowed with, to think otherwise. 
Because it seems to me that, to do so, it is necessary that a man 
should acquire a more debased condition of soul than to be a schis- 
matic, a fanatic, or a murderer. Suppose the bishop had been con- 
signed to my cell at Gadsby's, and had found it not only wanting 
in comfort, but possessed by vermin, and stenches, and damp, and 
Mr. Dexter had been ready with 1 Tim. vi., 8, and ordered 
him, on the strength of it, to shut up and go to bed, when he 
mildly objected to the arrangements, would he have meekly 
resigned himself to certain bronchitis, and a probability of acute 
laryngitis and speedy transfer to the eternal mansions % I 
respect him too much to believe it. The relation between an 
impostor and one who carelessly and slothfully allows himself 
to be imposed upon, is the same as that between a thief and a 
receiver of stolen goods. Indolent acquiescence in that which 
is unjust and harmful to us, is as wrong as a revengeful or an 
unforgiving spirit ; and if the Apostles had had to travel by our 
rail-roads, and rest at our hotels, and employ our hackney- 
coachmen, I believe they would have said so in so many words. 
The bishop seems to me to teach, by implication, the doctrine 
of the Divine Eight of Kings ; for what else, except in name, is 
this divine right of oversight with which he invests the slave's 
master, and for disloyalty to which he threatens corresponding 
torment eternal ? In doing so, is he not disloyal and rebellious 
to his own sovereign, "the Good People of Virginia," for their 

sovereignty is based in treason, and in denial of this divine right 


of government of one man over another ? If the bishop does 
not repent, where does he expect to go to % 

My aunt thinks that, before I venture to object to the preach- 
ing of a bishop, I should be ready to say what should be 
preached to slaves, while the necessity of keeping them in 
Slavery continues. I don't admit this ; yet I may say, in 
general, that I should think that it would be encouragement to 
them, to so conduct and train themselves that this necessity 
should be removed as rapidly as possible ; the supposition 
being always maintained, that this necessity rested on the 
extraordinary stupidity and vicious proclivities of the slaves 
themselves, and would be happily removed by their enlighten- 
ment and growth in grace. 

"What says the learned and pious father Gregory, bishop 
of the sixth century of Christianity? 

(jfftuttm rcacmpior nosier, totins "conoitor creaiurce, ab 
hoc propitiatus {]mnanam uohurit rarnati assmnm, tit 
bitrinitatis sua? gratia, birnpto quo Icncbamur raptim triu- 
raio, smutatis, "pristina nos rcstituerit iibcrtati salubrita: 
agitur si homines quos ab initio natura libcros protulit, zl 
jus gentium jugo substitirit sartritaiis, in ea qua noti sunt, 
inanumittcntis benefiric, libcrtatc rebbantur. 

Decret. Grat. P. 11. Caus. XII. Qucest. 2* 

I had an idea that a good deal was done, with some 
reference to the future freedom of the slaves ; but I can't hear 
that such is the case, in the Episcopal or any other Chris- 

* Now, as our Redeemer and the Creator of every creature, was willing to 
assume a human body, in order that by the grace of his divinity he might 
break the bonds of servitude, wherein we were held captive, and restore us to 
our freedom ; so it is a good and salutary thing when those who, by nature, 
were created free, and whom the laws of men have reduced to slavery, are, 
by the benefaction of manumission, restored to that liberty in which they were 


tian organization. The Church of England form of worship 
is, in my opinion, the best calculated to encourage their eleva- 
tion, of any used at the South ; and the slaves who habitu- 
ally attend and commune in the Episcopal church are, as a 
general rule, much more intelligent and elevated in their re- 
ligious nature than any others. The ceremony and pomp, 
the frequent responses and chants, in which negroes are ex- 
pected and encouraged to unite, in unison with the whites, and 
the liturgical system of instruction in religious truth, are all 
favorable to the improvement in character of the negro, and 
admirably adapted to the idiosyncrasies of his nature. 

The Baptist and Methodist clergy, when addressing negro 
congregations, are said to spend most of their force in arguing 
against each other's doctrines, and the negroes are represented to 
have a great taste for theological controversy. 

As an illustration of the way in which a great many negroes 
understood a certain tenet of the Baptists, a gentleman narrated 
the following circumstance : 

A slave, who was "a professor," plagued his master very 
much by his persistence in certain immoral practices, and he 
requested a clergyman to converse with him and try to reform 
him. The clergyman did so, and endeavored to bring the terrors 
of the law to bear upon his conscience. " Look yeah, massa," 
said the backslider, "don't de Scriptur say, 'Dem who believes 
an is baptize shall be save?'" "Certainly," the clergyman an- 
swered ; and went on to explain and expound the passage : but 
directly the slave interrupted him again. 

" Jus you tell me now, massa, don't de good book say dese word : 
' Dem as believes and is baptize, shall be save ;' want to know dat.' - ' 

"Yes; but—" 


"Dat's all I want to know, sar; now wat's de use o' talkin to 
me ? You aint a goin to make me bleve wat de blessed Lord 
says, an't so, not ef you tries forever." 

The clergyman again attempted to explain, but tbe negro 
would not allow him, and as often as he got back to the judgment- 
day, or charging him with sin, and demanding reformation, he 
would interrupt him in the same way. 

" De Script ur say, if a man believe and be baptize he shall — 
he shall, be save. Now, massa minister, I done believe and 
I done baptize, an / shall be save suah. — Dere's no use talkin, 

My remarks in this letter, upon the religious and moral con- 
dition of the slaves, are to be considered as my first impressions 
from what I see and hear. There appears to be a great difference 
of opinion among those who have had better opportunities of 
judging than I, on the subject, and it is fair that I should say, 
that some assure me they have no doubt the religious character 
of the slaves, who are members of churches, is as high as that of 
the white members, and that it is better than that of the lower class 
of whites. Opinions as to the general standard of morality 
among the slaves are strongly contradictory. My own impres- 
sion has, therefore, been derived from facts that I hear, and from 
general observation of the manners and conversation of the 
slaves. It is true that a great deal of religious phraseology and 
much Scripture language is used by them ; but the very levity 
and inappropriateness with which it is applied, shows a want of a 
right appreciation of it. It is not at all improbable, however, 
that I shall find occasion to modify this early formed opinion, as 
I see and hear further. Of the frequently elevated religious and 
moral as well as cultivated and refined intellectual character of 


the more favored household servants of many excellent families, 
there can be no room for doubt. I have hardly less doubt, how- 
ever, of the almost heathenish condition of the slaves on many of 
the large plantations. SV,.^, ' 


" Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very 
extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source 
of serious evils." — Benjamin Franklin. 

During forty-five years, according to Howison, the number of $ 
white convicts in the Virginia penitentiaries was in the ratio of 1 / 


to about 328 of the whole population ; the number of colored 
convicts, 1 in 67. " The free negroes and mulattoes are, 
unquestionably," says this historian, " the most vicious and 
corrupting of the varied materials composing our social 
system." " The criminal law, as to free colored persons and 
slaves, differs widely from that applied to whites. The 
free negroes occupy an equivocal and most unhappy position 
between the whites and slaves, and the laws affecting them 
partake of this peculiarity. Capital punishment is inflicted 
on them for offenses more lightly punished in whites. They 'are 
entitled to trial by jury in cases of homicide and in all capital 
cases, but, for all other crimes, they are tried by justices' courts of 
Oyer and Terminer, who must be unanimous in order to convict. 
They are subjected to restraint and surveillance in points beyond 

To show their poverty and the benevolence of providing for 
the race by slavery, I am told that in one county, a few years 
ago, an inventory and estimate of the value of their property was 
made by order of the magistracy. With one exception, the 
highest value placed upon the property of an individual was 


two dollars and a half, ($2 50). The person excepted owned 
one hundred and fifty acres of land, a cabin upon it, a mule 
and some implements. He had a family of nine. Of pro- 
visions for its support, there were in the house, at the time of 
the visit of the appraisers, a peck and a half of Indian meal 
and part of a herring. The man was then absent to purchase 
some more meal, but had no money, and was to give his 
promise to pay in wood, which he was to cut from his farm. 
And this was in winter. 

That this poverty is not the result of want of facilities or security 
of accumulating property, is proved by the exceptional instances of 
considerable wealth existing among them. An account of the 
death of a free colored man, who devised by will property to the 
amount of thirty thousand dollars, has lately been in the news- 
papers. I am assured, by one who knew the man very well, of 
the general accuracy of the narration, though one somewhat 
important circumstance was omitted. It was stated that the man 
preferred that his children should continue in the condition of 
slaves, and gave his property to a man who was to be their 
master. He gave as a reason for this, that he had personally 
examined the condition of the free blacks in Philadelphia and 
Boston, as well as in Virginia, and he preferred that his children 
should remain slaves, knowing that their master would take 
better care of them than they were capable of exercising for 
themselves. This was substantially correct. He had been, 
however, for a long time before his death, in a low state of 
nealth, and it is not known how sound, or uninfluenced by others, 
his mind might have been. The circumstance omitted was, that 
these were illegitimate children, by a slave woman, and that he 
simply left them in the condition in which they were born, in the 


care of their legal owner, having himself no legal right to dispose 
of them in any other way. It is a general custom of white 
people here to leave their illegitimate children, by slaves (and 
they are very common), in slavery. The man was himself a 

A man of wealth and station, who enjoys the friendship of the 
best and most respected people, lately sold his own half-brother, 
an intelligent, and of course " valuable," young man, to the 
traders, to be sent South, because he had attempted to run away 
to the Free States. So I am informed by his neighbor and 

At the present rate of wages, any free colored man might 
accumulate property more rapidly in Virginia than almost any 
man, depending solely on his labor, can at the North. In 
the tobacco-factories in Richmond and Petersburg, slaves 
are, at this time, in great demand, and are paid one hun- 
dred and fifty to two hundred dollars, and all expenses, for 
a year. These slaves are expected to work only to a certain 
extent for their employers ; it having been found that they could 
not be "driven" to do a fair day's work so easily as they could 
be stimulated to it by the offer of a bonus for all they would 
manufacture above a certain number of pounds. This quantity 
is so easily exceeded, that the slaves earn for themselves from 
five to twenty dollars a month. Freemen are paid for all they 
do, at rates which make their labor equally profitable, and can 
earn, if they give but moderate attention and diligence to the 
labor, very large sums. One man's wages amounted last year, 
as I am informed by his employer, to over nine hundred dollars ; 
but he is supposed to have laid up none of it. Nearly all the 
negroes, slave and free, it is said, spend their money as fast as 


they receive it. And nearly all of it goes in a manner to do 
them injury. 

Formerly, it is said, the slaves were accustomed to amuse 
themselves, in the evening and on holidays, a great deal in 
dancing, and they took great enjoyment in this exercise. It 
was at length, however, preached against, and the "professors" 
so generally induced to use their influence against it, as an 
immoral practice, that it has greatly gone "out of fashion," 
and, in place of it, the young ones have got into the habit, of 
gambling, and worse occupations, for the pastime of their holi- 
days and leisure hours. I have not seen any dancing during 
these holidays, nor any recreation engaged in by the blacks, that 
is not essentially gross, dissipating, or wasteful, unless I except 
the firing of crackers. 

Improvidence is generally considered here a natural trait of 
African character ; and by none is it more so than by the 
negroes themselves. I think it is a mistake. Negroes, as far 
as I have observed at the North, although suffering from the 
contamination of habits acquired by themselves or their fathers 
in Slavery, are more provident than whites of equal educational 
advantages. Much more so than the newly-arrived Irish, though 
the Irish, soon after their immigration, are usually infected with 
the desire of accumulating Avealth and acquiring permanent 
means of comfort. This opinion is confirmed by the experience 
of our City Missionaries — one of whom has informed me that 
where the very poorest classes of New York reside, black and 
white in the same house, the rooms occupied by the blacks 
are generally much less bare of furniture and the means of 
subsistence than those of the whites. 

I observed that the negroes themselves follow the notion of 


the whites here, and look upon the people of their race as 
naturally unfitted to look out for themselves far ahead. Accus- 
tomed, like children, to have all their necessary wants provided 
for, their whole energies and powers of mind are habitually 
given to obtaining the means of temporary ease and enjoyment. 
Their masters and the poor or "mean" whites acquire some- 
what of the same habits from early association with them, 
calculate on it in them — do not wish to cure it — and by constant 
practices encourage it. For the means of enjoying themselves 
the negroes depend much on presents. Their good-natured mas- 
ters (and their masters are generally very good-natured, though 
capricious) like to gratify them, and are ashamed to disappoint 
them — to be thought mean. So it follows that, with the free ne- 
groes, habit is upon them ; the habits of their associates, slaves 
make the custom of society — that strongest of agents upon weak 
minds. The whites think improvidence a natural defect of 
character with them, expect it of them ; as they grow old, or, as 
they lose easy means of gaining a livelihood, charitably furnish 
it to them ; expect them to pilfer ; do not look upon it as a 
crime, or at least consider them but slightly to blame ; and 
so every influence and association is unfavorable to providence, 
forethought, economy. 

With such influences upon them, with such a character, with 
such education, with such associations, it is not surprising that 
Southerners say that the condition of the slave who is subject to 
some wholesome restraint, and notwithstanding his improvidence 
is systematically provided for, is preferable to that of the free black. 
The free black does not, in general, feel himself superior to 
the slave; and the slaves of the wealthy and aristocratic families 
consider themselves in a much better and more honorable position 


than the free blacks. Their view of the matter is said to be 

expressed thus: " dirty free niggers! — got nobody to take 

care of 'em." 

It is for this reason that slaves of gentlemen of high charac- 
ter, who are treated with judicious indulgence, and who can 
rely with confidence on the permanence of their position, know- 
ing that they will be kindly cared for as they grow old, and 
feeling their own incapacity to take care of themselves, do often 
voluntarily remain in slavery when freedom is offered them, 
whether it be at the South, or North, or in Africa. A great 
many slaves that have been freed and sent to the North, after 
remaining there for a time, are said to have returned — longing, 
like the faithless Israelites, for the flesh pots of Slavery — of their 
own accord, to Virginia, and their report of the manner in 
which negroes are treated there, the difficulty of earning enough 
to provide themselves with the luxuries to which they have been 
accustomed, the unkindness of the white people to them, and 
the want of that thoughtless liberality in payments to them 
which they expect here from their superiors, has not been such 
as to lead others to pine for the life of an outcast at the North. 

A number of Mr. Eandolph's slaves, it has been several times 
mentioned to me, have thus returned. It is well known that 
Mr. Eandolph took a humane and democratic view of Slavery ; 
and his neglect to educate them for the liberty which, after his 
death, he bequeathed to them, may have added much to that 
terrible remorse which darkened his death-bed. 

It is certainly true that the negroes, either slave or free, are 
not generally disposed to go to Liberia. It is a distant country, 
of which they can have but very little reliable information, and 
they do not like the idea, any more than other people, of emigrat- 


ing from their native country. But I really think that the best 
reason for their not being more anxious to go there is, that they 
are sincerely attached, in a certain way, to the white race. At 
all events, they do not incline to live in communities entirely 
separate from the whites, and do not long for entire independ- 
ence from them. They have been so long accustomed to trust- 
ing the government of all weighty matters to the whites, that 
they would not feel at ease where they did not have them to 
" take care of 'em." They do not feel inclined to take great 
responsibilities on themselves, and have no confidence in the 
talent of their race for self-government. A gentleman told 
me that he owned a very intelligent negro, who had acquired 
some property, and that he had more than once offered him 
his freedom, but he would always reply that he did not 
feel able to fall entirely upon his own resources, and pre- 
ferred to have a master. He once offered him his freedom 
to go to Liberia, and urged him to go there. His reply was 
to the effect that he would have no objections if the govern- 
ment was in the hands of white folks, but that he had no con- 
fidence in the ability of black people to undertake the control 
of public affairs. 

I do not wish to be understood as intimating that the slaves 
generally would not like to be freed and sent to the North, or that 
they are ever really contented or satisfied with slavery ; only thai 
having been deprived of the use of their limbs from infancy, as i» 
were, they may not wish now suddenly to be set upon their feet, 
and left to shift for themselves. They may prefer to secure at 
least plain food and clothing, and comfortable lodging, at theii 
owner's expense, while they will return as little for it as they 
can, and have only the luxuries of life to work for on their own 


account, it is not easy to deprive them of the means of secur- 
ing a share of these. 

These luxuries, to be sure, may be of very degrading charac- 
ter, and such as, according to our ideas, they would be better 
without ; but their tastes and habits are formed to enjoy them, 
and they are not likely to be content -without. 

But, to live either on their own means, or the charitable assist- 
ance of others, at the North, they must dispense with many of these 
things. It is as much as most of them — more than some of them, 
with us — can do, by their labor, to obtain the means of subsist- 
ence, such as they have been used to being provided with, with- 
out a thought of their own, at the South. And if they are known 
to indulge in practices that are habitual with the race, they will 
.not only lose the charity, but even the custom, of most of their 
philanthropic friends ; and then they must turn to pilfering again, 
or meet that most pitiful of all extremities — poverty from want 
of work. Again : suppose them to wish to indulge in their old 
habits of sensual pleasure, they can only do so by forsaking the 
better class of even their own color, or by chawing them down 
to their own level. In this way, Slavery, even now, day by day, 
is greatly responsible for the degraded and immoral condition of 
the free blacks of our cities, and especially of Philadelphia. It 
is, perhaps, necessary that I should explain that licentiousness 
and almost indiscriminate sexual connection among the young is 
very general, and is & necessity of the system of Slavery. A 
Northern family that employs slave-domestics, and insists upon 
a life of physical chastity in its female servants, is always 
greatly detested ; and they frequently come to their owners and 
beg to be taken away, or not hired again, though acknowledging 
themselves to be kind]y treated in all other respects. A 


slave-owner told me this of his own girls hired to Northern 

That the character and condition of some is improved by 
coming to the North, it is impossible to deny. From a miser- 
able, half barbarous, half brutal state they have been brought in 
contact with the highest civilization. From slaves they have, 
sometimes, come to be men of intelligence, cultivation, and 
refinement. There are no white men in the United States 
that display every attribute of a strong and good soul better 
than some of the freed slaves. What would Frederick Douglass 
have been had he failed to escape from that service which 
Bishop Meade dares to say is the service of God; had his 
spirit been once broken by that man who, Bishop Meade 
would have taught him, was God's chosen overseer of his body? 
What has he become since he dared commit the sacrilege of 
coming out of bondage? All the statesmanship and kind 
mastership of the South has done less, in fifty years, to elevate 
and dignify the African race, than he in ten. 


In order to be in time for the train of cars in which I was to 
leave Petersburg for Norfolk, I was called up at an unusual hour 
in the morning and provided with a very poor breakfast, on the 
ground that there had not been time to prepare a decent one, 
(though I was charged full time on the bill), advised by the 
landlord to hurry when I seated myself at the table, and two 
minutes afterwards informed that, if I remained longer, I should 
be too late. 

Thanks to these kind precautions, I reached the station twenty 


minutes before the train left, and was afterwards carried with 
about fifty other people at the rate of ten miles an hour to 
City-point, where all were discharged under a dirty shed, from 
which a wharf projected into James river. 

The train was advertised to connect here with a steamboat 
for Norfolk. Finding no steamboat at the wharf, I feared, at 
first, that the delay in leaving Petersburg and the slow speed 
upon the road had detained us so long that the boat had 
departed without us. But observing no disappointment or 
concern expressed by the other passengers, I concluded the 
boat was to call for us, and had yet to arrive. An hour 
passed, during which I tried to keep warm by walking up 
and down the wharf; rain then commenced falling, and I 
returned to the crowded shed and asked a young man, who 
was engaged in cutting the letters Gr. W. B., with a dirk- 
knife, upon the head of a tobacco-cask, what Avas supposed 
to have detained the steamboat. 

"Detained her? there aint no detention to her as I know 
on; 'taint hardly time for her to be along yet." 

Another half hour, in fact, passed, before the steamboat 
arrived, nor was any impatience manifested by the passengers. 
All seemed to take this hurrying and waiting process as the 
regular thing. The women sat sullenly upon trunks and pack- 
ing-cases, and watched their baggage and restrained their 
children ; the men chewed tobacco and read newspapers, lounged 
first 01 one side and then on the other, some smoked, some 
walked away to a distant tavern, some reclined on the heaps of 
freight and went to sleep, and a few conversed quietly and inter- 
mittingly with one another. 



The shores of the James river are low and level — the scenery 
uninteresting; but frequent planters' mansions, often of great 
size and of some elegance, stand upon the bank, and sometimes 
these have very pretty and well-kept grounds about them — finer 
than any other I have seen at the South — and the plantations 
surrounding them are cultivated with neatness and skill. Many 
men distinguished in law and politics here have their homes. 

I was pleased to see the appearance of enthusiasm with which 
some passengers, who were landed from our boat at one of these 
places, were received by two or three well-dressed negro servants, 
who had come from the house to the wharf to meet them. Black 
and white met with kisses, and the effort of a long-haired 
sophomore to maintain his supercilious dignity, was quite ineffec- 
tual to kill the kindness of a fat mulatto woman, who joyfully 
and pathetically shouted, as she caught him off the gang-plank, 
" Oh Massa George, is you come back !" Field negroes, standing 
by, looked on with their usual besotted expression, and neither 
offered nor received greetings. 


I arrived in Norfolk on the eve of a terrific gale, during which 
vessels at anchor in the Eoads went down, and the city and 
country were much excited by various disasters, both on shore 
and at sea. 

Jan. 10th. Norfolk is a dirty, low, ill-arranged town, nearly 
divided by a morass. It has a single creditable public building, 
a number of fine private residences, and the polite society is 
reputed to be agreeable, refined, and cultivated, receiving a 
character from the families of the resident naval officers. It has 


all the immoral and disagreeable characteristics of a large 
seaport, with very few of the advantages that we should expect 
to find as relief to them. No lyceum or public libraries, no 
public gardens, no galleries of art, and though there are two 
" Bethels," no " home" for its seamen ; no public resorts of 
healthful and refining amusement, no place better than a filthy, 
tobacco-impregnated bar-room or a licentious dance-cellar, so far 
as I have been able to learn, for the stranger of high or low 
degree to pass the hours unoccupied by business. 

Lieut. Maury has lately very well shown what advantages 
were originally possessed for profitable commerce at this point, in 
a report, the intention of which is to advocate the establishment 
of a line of steamers hence to Para, the port of the mouth of the 
Amazon. I have the best wishes for the success of the project 
in its important features, and the highest respect for the 
judgment of Lieut. Maury, but it seems to me pertinent to 
inquire why are the British Government steamers not sent 
exclusively to Halifax, the nearest port to England, instead of 
to the more distant and foreign port of New York? If a Govern- 
ment line of steamers should be established between Para and 
Norfolk, and should be found in the least degree commercially 
profitable, how long would it be before another line would be 
established between New York and Para, by private enterprise, 
and then how much business would be left for the Government 
steamers while they continued to end their voyage at Norfolk ? 
So, too, with regard to a line from Antwerp to Norfolk, (a 
proposition to grant State aid for establishing which, was the 
chief topic of public discussion in Virginia, at the time of mj 
visit). Lieut. Maury says, however : 

"Norfolk is in a position to have commanded the business of the 


Atlantic sea-board : it is midway the coast. It has a back country 
of great facility and resources ; and, as to approaches to the ocean, 
there is no harbor from the St. Johns to the Rio Grande that has 
the same facilities of ingress and egress at all times and in all 
weathers. * * The back country of Norfolk is all that which is 
drained by the Chesapeake Bay — embracing a line drawn along the 
ridge between the Delaware and the Chesapeake, thence northerly, 
including all of Pennsylvania that is in the valley of the Susquehan- 
na, all of Maryland this side of the mountains, the valleys of the 
Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James rivers, with the Valley 
of the Roanoke, and a great part of the State of North Carolina, 
whose only outlet to the sea is by the way of Norfolk." 


This is a favorite theme with Lieut. Maury, who is a Vir- 
ginian. In a letter to the National Intelligencer, Oct. 31, 1854, 
after describing similar advantages which the town possesses 
to those enumerated above, he continues : 

•• Its climate is delightful. It is of exactly that happy tempera- 
ture where the frosts of the North bite not, and the pestilence of the 
South walks not. Its harbor is commodious and safe as safe can be. 
It is never blocked up by ice. It has the double advantage of an 
inner and an outer harbor. The inner harbor is as smooth as any 
mill-pond. In it vessels lie with perfect security, where every ima- 
ginable facility is offered for loading and unloading." * * * * 
"The back country, which without portage is naturally tributary to 
Norfolk, not only surpasses that which is tributary to New York in 
mildness of climate, in fertility of soil, and variety of production, 
but in geographical extent by many square miles. The proportion 
being as three to one in favor of the Virginia port." * * * "The 
natural advantages, then, in relation to the sea or the back country, 
are superior, beyond comparison, to those of New York." 

There is little, if any exaggeration in this estimate ; yet, if a 
deadly, enervating pestilence had always raged here, this Nor- 
folk could not be a more miserable, sorry little seaport town 


than it is.* It was not possible to prevent the existence of 
some agency here for the transhipment of goods, and for supply- 
ing the needs of vessels, compelled by exterior circumstances to 
take refuge in the harbor. Beyond this bare supply of a ne- 
cessitous demand, and what results from the adjoining naval 
rendezvous of the nation, there is nothing. 

Singularly simple, child-like ideas about commercial success, 
you find among the Virginians — even among the merchants 
themselves. The agency by which commodities are transferred 
from the producer to the consumer, they seem to look upon as a 
kind of swindling operation ; they do not see that the merchant 
acts a useful part in the community, or, that his labor can 
be other than selfish and malevolent. They speak angrily 
of New York, as if it fattened on the country without doing the 
country any good in return. They have no idea that it is their 
business that the New Yorkers are doing, and that whatever 
tends to facilitate it, and make it simple and secure, is an 

* This was written and printed long before the late sad visit of yellow fever 
to Norfolk. I should hardly let it stand now, if I had not previously thought 
and said, when in the town, that its undrained and filthy condition was such 
that it seemed to me incredible that its people could live in health. If the con- 
dition of the town, at the time of my visit, was not very extraordinary, this 
dreadful visitor certainly did not come uninvited. 

Since writing this note, my attention has been called to an article in the Boa- 
ton Medical and Surgical Journal, written by a person who had resided for 
two years in Norfolk, and who says the town is " destitute of sewerage, and 
its streets are extremely filthy, being often strewed with refuse vegetables and. 
other garbage, which result from the immense quantity of provisions brought 
into the city for export. These matters become rotten, and emit a most noisome 
stench. The turkey-buzzard, the natural scavenger of the South, is not found 
in Norfolk, but his place is supplied by cows, who wander at will through 
the town, and gather an unhealthy subsistence from the cabbage-stalks and 
other substances which lie in heap3 on the ground. The condition of Ports- 
mouth is much worse than that of Norfolk. It is connected with Gosport by a 
causeway, nearly a mile in length, if we are not mistaken, across a swamp or 
flat, from which arises a powerful stench. 


increase of their wealth by diminishing the costs and lessening 
the losses upon it. 

They gravely demand why the government mail steamers 
should be sent to New York, when New York has so much 
business already, and why the nation should build costly 
custom-houses and post-offices, and mints, and sea defenses, 
and collect stores and equipments there, and not at Norfolk, 
and Petersburg, and Richmond, and Danville, and Lynchburg, 
and Smithtown, and Jones's Cross-Eoads? It seems never to 
have occurred to them that it is because the country needs them 
there, because the skill, enterprise and energy of New York 
merchants, the confidence of capitalists in New York merchants, 
the various facilities for trade offered by New York merchants, 
enable them to do the business of the country cheaper and 
better than it can be done anywhere else, and that thus they 
can command commerce, and need not petition their Legislature, 
or appeal to mean sectional prejudices to obtain it, but all 
imagine it is by some shrewd Yankee trickery it is done. By 
the bones of their noble fathers they will set their faces against 
it — and their faces are not of dough — so they bully their local 
merchants into buying in clearer markets, and make the country 
tote its gold on to Philadelphia to be coined ; and their conven- 
tions resolve that the world shall come to Norfolk, or Eichmond, 
or Smithtown, and that no more cotton shall be sent to England 
until England will pay a price for it that shall let negroes be 
worth a thousand dollars a head, &c, &c, &c. 

Then, if it be asked why Norfolk, with its immense natural 
advantages for commerce, has not been able to do their business 
for them as well as New York ; or why Eichmond, with its great 
natural superiority for manufacturing, has not prospered like 


Glasgow, or Petersburg like Lowell — why Virginia is not like 
Pennsylvania, or Kentucky like Ohio ? — they will perhaps answer 
that it is owing to the peculiar tastes they have inherited ; " settled 
mainly (as was Virginia) by the sons of country gentlemen, who 
brought the love of country life with them across the Atlantic, 
and infused it into the mass of the population, they have ever 
preferred that life, and the title of country gentleman, implying 
the possession of landed estates, has always been esteemed more 
honorable than any other."* It is simply a matter of taste — an 
answer which reminds us of JEsop's fox. 

Ask any honest stranger who has been brought into intimate 
intercourse for a short time Avith the people, why it is that here 
has been stagnation, and there constant, healthy progress, and 
he will answer that these people are less enterprising, energetic 
and sensible in the conduct of their affairs — that they live less in 
harmony with the laws that govern the accumulation of wealth 
than those. 

Ask him how this difference of character should have arisen, 
and he will tell you it is not from the blood, but from the 
education they have received ; from the institutions and circum- 
stances they have inherited. It is the old, fettered, barbarian 
labor-system, in connection with which they have been brought 
up, against which all their enterprise must struggle, and with the 
chains of which all their ambition must be bound. 

This conviction I find to be universal in the minds of strangers, 
and it is forced upon one more' strongly than it is possible to 
make you comprehend by a mere statement of isolated facts. 
You could as well convey an idea of the effect of mist on a 

* Dr. Little's History of Eicbmond. 


landscape, by enumerating the number of particles of vapor that 
obscure it. Give Virginia blood fair play, remove it from the 
atmosphere of slavery, and it shows no lack of energy and good 

It is strange the Virginians dare not look this in the face. 
Strange how they bluster in their legislative debates, in their 
newspapers, and in their bar-rooms, about the "Yankees," and 
the " Yorkers," declaring that they are " swindled out of their 
legitimate trade," when the simple truth is, that the Northern 
merchants do that for them that they are- unable to do for 
themselves. As well might the Chinese be angry with us for 
sending our clipper ships for their tea, because it is a business 
that would be more "legitimately" (however less profitably) 
carried on in "junks." 


There's a yarn I have heard from the Staaten Island coasters, 
who run down to the capes of Virginia for oysters, which illus- 
trates admirably how Virginia commerce would be " legitimately" 
carried on, that is, in the manner naturally resulting from her 

Among the largest and luckiest of the Virginia merchant- 
marine, is the fine, fast-sailing, light-draft, putty-bottomed, 
packet-sloop, the Abstraction. The " old Ab" was formerly 
owned and commanded by Captain Jerry S., and was manned 
by one black boy, sixty years old, named Mopus, and commonly 
called Uncle Mopus. Mopus was a slave, and Captain Jerry 
had bought him with the sloop. 

Mopus was a proper slave, patient, meek, stupid, and 
stubborn, — a talking donkey. He never had been taught 


to read or to comprehend figures. He could not understand 
the dial, and the binnacle-compass was a sort of fetish to 
him ; the mystery of which he was too humble to desire to 
penetrate. He piously left these great things in the hands 
of his owner, and resigned himself to the will of that Provi- 
dence which had given him a master to take care of him, 
who was responsible for his safety and profits, as well as the 

This resignation and faith of the good Mopus, however, often 
gave Captain Jerry a deal of trouble, for it obliged him to be 
nearly always on deck and wide awake, and he sometimes thought 
he might better sell Mopus, and buy a nigger that was not so 
good, (Captain Jerry, as I heard it, used to put in a word 
between so and good, and bear down on it,) but the danger that 
such a one would prove entirely reckless of all moral suggestions, 
as smart niggers are very apt to, and go and steal himself, 
prevented his doing so, and he tried to make the best of Mopus' 
muscles, and to supply the necessary brain-power for the sloop 
from his own private skull. 

One night, Captain Jerry having been up all the previous 
night, and having just worked the sloop out of Hampton roads, 
against wind and tide, and being quite overcome with fatigue, 
thought he might venture to trust Mopus with the helm for a 
few hours, the sloop's course being now due north, up Chesapeake 
bay, wind light and quartering, a clear sky, and nothing in the 
way for fifty miles. 

Mopus knew the North Star very well, as niggers generally do, 
and telling him to keep the bow-sprit pointing straight at it, and 
not to disturb him until he saw land to starboard, Captain Jerry 
put out the binnacle-light to save oil, and went beloWc 


Captain Jerry had the habit, which small-craft men are apt 
to get, of consulting aloud with himself. No sooner had he 
closed the companion scuttle than Mopus, with head to the 
stove pipe, heard — " Moon fulled Thursday — slack Avater at 
six — North Star — that'll do till daylight sartain — due North — 
Tangier island — not afore meridian — can't go wrong till arter 
daylight, no how — good snooze this time — go in — off boots." 

Mope was a capital helmsman ; and for two hours, while the 
breeze held, he kept on a bee-line to the northward. Then it 
fell calm ; and then there came little catspaws from northwest, 
and Mope, after giving a pull of the main-sheet, left the helm a 
minute to flatten the jib. While he was forward, a flaw from the 
northeast took him all aback. Belaying jib-sheet, he came aft, 
and put helm up to wear round. Just as he jibed, came another 
flaw from the southeast, and a pretty smart one. Mope met it, 
trimmed close, and seeing it was going to be steady, left the 
helm again, and shoved down the centre board. Then he went 
to the hatchway and got his coat, after which he took a pull at 
the scuttle-butt, and struck a light for a smoke. 

All this time old Abby, with her head southeast, was shaking 
like a nail-mill. Mope finally hauled the jib up to port, till the 
mainsail filled, then took the helm again, and kept her rap full 
heading south, but running off to the westward, now and then, 
in search for the North Star, which, as he could not see it any- 
where else, he thought for a long time must have got behind the 

He had smoked out two pipes before he found it, and then it 
was right over the stern, which at first struck him as a singular 
circumstance. There it Avas, " pointers and all ;" he could not 
be mistaken. But how did it get there ? 


Mope pondered over it for two pipes more, all the while giving 
her a good fall and nothing off. He was at first inclined to 
treat it as a mystery; but when, about two o'clock, the moon 
rose, he grew bold, knotted his eyebrows, clenched his teeth, 
took off his tarpaulin, and struck his reflective organs with his 
clenched fist. 

At length the problem was solved, and his lips trembled and 
gathered inward and puckered back with that pleasure which 
niggers, in common with human beings, enjoy, when they are 
conscious of having acquitted themselves well of a trying and 
honorable responsibility. He immediately hauled the boom 
down close to the taffrail ; he went forward, and belayed the 
jib to windward, lighted his pipe again, and kept a good look- 
out till, as day broke, he made land to starboard, just as he 
expected ; — land to starboard and — why didn't he see it be- 
fore ? — a light right ahead, and not very far ahead either. 

"All right," thought Mopus, "daylight, humph! let an old 
nigger alone to find the way to the North;" and he let the jib 
draw away, went aft, took the helm and called the skipper. 

The skipper turned out : 

"Hallo, uncle, close hauled? Wind's come out o' norrard, 
has it ? Why, Mopus ! why ! what the devil — what light's that? 

Why, Mope! why you ■ Where you been taking the sloop 

to now, you black rascal ! here's the North Star over the stara !" 

" Oh yes, massa, past de Norf Star an hour ago ; all right, 
sar, here's de land right off here to luward. Made a fine run, 
sar. Oh ! I knows how to fotch 'em along, I does myself, ha ! 
ha! ha! Takes old Mope arter all, don't it? ha! ha! ha!" 

" Ye-es (through his teeth) . mighty fine run ! Old Point, by 
the blood of Pocahontas ! just where I'd got her last night at 


sunset! — you grinnin' catamount! Takes old Mope! You 
bloody old cuss ! I'll sell you for a chaw of tobacco to the first 
white man that '11 take you off my hands." 

Incidents, trifling in themselves, constantly betray to a stran- 
ger the bad economy of using enslaved servants. The catastro- 
phe of one such occurred since I began to write this letter. I 
ordered a fire to be made in my room, as I was going out this 
morning. On my return, I found a grand fire — the room door 
having been closed and locked upon it, and, by the way, I had 
to obtain assistance to open it, the lock being " out of order.'' 
Just now, while I was writing, down tumbled upon the floor, and 
rolled away close to the valance of the bed, half a hod-full of 
ignited coal, which had been so piled up on the diminutive grate, 
and left without a fender or any guard, that this result was almost 
inevitable. If I had not returned at the time I did, the house 
would have been fired, and probably an incendiary charged with 
it, while some Northern Insurance Company made good the loss 
to the owner. And such carelessness of servants you have mo- 
mentarily to notice. 

But the constantly-occurring delays, and the, waste of time 
and labor that you encounter everywhere, are most annoying 
and provoking to a stranger. The utter want of system and 
order, almost essential, as it would appear, where slaves are your 
instruments, is amazing — and when you are not in haste, often 
amusing. At a hotel, for instance, you go to your room and find 
no conveniences for washing ; ring and ring again, and hear the 
office-keeper ring again and again. At length two servants ap- 
pear together at your door, get orders, and go away. A quarter of 
an hour afterwards, perhaps, one returns with a pitcher of water, 

but no towels ; and so on. Yet as the servants are attentive and 


anxious to please (expecting to be " remembered " when you 
leave), it only results from the want of system and order. 

Until the negro is big enough for his labor to be palpably 
profitable to his master, he has no training to application or 
method, but only to idleness and carelessness. Before the chil- 
dren arrive at a working age, they hardly come under the notice 
of their owner. An inventory of them is taken on the plantation 
at Christmas ; and a planter told me that he had sometimes 
had them brought in at twelve or thirteen years old, that 
had escaped the vigilance of the overseer up to that age. 
The only whipping of slaves that I have seen in Virginia, 
has been of these , wild, lazy children, as they are being 
broke in to work. It is at this moment going on in the 
yard beneath my window. They cannot be depended upon 
a minute out of sight. 

You will see how difficult it would be, if it were attempted, to 
eradicate the indolent, careless, incogitant habits so formed in 
youth. But it is not systematically attempted, and the in- 
fluences that continue to act upon a slave in the same direction, 
cultivating every quality at variance with industry, precision, 
forethought, and providence, are innumerable. 

It is impossible that the habits of the whole community should 
not be influenced by, and be made to accommodate to these 
habits of its laborers'. It irresistibly affects the whole industrial 
character of the people. You may see it in the habits and man- 
ners of the free white mechanics and trades-people. All of these 
must have dealings or be in competition Avith slaves, and so have 
their standard of excellence made low, and become accustomed 
to, until they are content with slight, false, unsound workman- 
ship. You notice in all classes, vagueness in ideas of cost and 


value, and injudicious and unnecessary expenditure of labor by 
a thoughtless manner of setting about work.* 

I had an umbrella broken. I noticed it as I was going out 
from my hotel during a shower, and stepped into an adjoining 
locksmith's to have it repaired. He asked where he should send 
it when he had done it. " I intended to wait for it," I answered ; 
"how long is it going to take you, and how much shall you 
charge ?" 

"I can't do it in less than half an hour, sir, and it will be 
worth a quarter." 

" I shouldn't think it need take you so long, it is merely a 
rivet to be tightened." 

" I shall have to take it all to pieces, and it will take me all of 
half an hour." 

" I don't think you need take it to pieces." 

" Yes, I shall — there's no other way to do it." 

" Then, as I can't well wait so long, I will not trouble you 
with it;" and I went into the hotel, and with the fire-poker did 
the job myself, in less than a minute, as well as he could have 
done it in a week, and w r ent on my way, saving half an hour and 
quarter of a dollar, like a " Yankee." 

Virginians laugh at us for such things : but it is because they 
are indifferent to these fractions, or, as they say, above regard- 
ing them, that they cannot do their own business with the rest 
of the world, and all their commerce, as they are constantly 
and most absurdly complaining, only goes to enrich Northern 
men. A man forced to labor under their system is morally 
driven to indolence, carelessness, indifference to the results of 

* A ship's officer told me that he had noticed that it took just about three 
times as long to have the same repairs made in Norfolk that it did in New York. 


skill, heedlessness, inconstancy of purpose, improvidence, and 
extravagance. Precisely the opposite qualities are those which 
are encouraged, and inevitably developed in a man who has to 
make his living, and earn all his comfort by his voluntarily- 
directed labor. These opposite qualities are those which are 
essentially necessary to the success of an adventurer in com- 
merce. The commercial success of the free states is the 
offspring of their voluntary labor system. The inability of the 
Virginians to engage in commerce is the result of their system 
of involuntary servitude. The condition of the laborers pre- 
determines the condition of all the people. 


Several ships were here, under orders, waiting for crews; 
with the rest, the Powkattan steam-frigate, among whose 
officers I found some acquaintances. What soft of hands 
they had to take, and how difficult they found the duty of 
efficiently commanding them, may be imagined from the dis- 
graceful fact, that, at that time, but twelve dollars a month 
was allowed by Government to be paid for the best men 
for the national service, while merchantmen were paying 
twenty-five dollars for common able seamen ; and yet, be- 
cause, when under these circumstances, the crews obtained 
were not smart, clean, sober, docile, and contented, I heard 
officers ascribe their difficulties to the disuse of the cat and 
the old terrifying system of discipline. 

The United States Navy should be a school of the utmost 
excellence of seamanship, not a refuge for irreclaimable sots, 
loafers, and ruffians, who cannot, or dare not, take employ- 
ment elsewhere at the market rate of wages. 


I, as a one-twenty-three-millionth proprietor of it, wonder 
if it would not be better policy to go into exactly the oppo- 
site extreme, and, by paying the best wages, get the best 
men — the highest priced labor in open market is usually 
believed to be the cheapest. 

And I wonder if it would not be possible to obtain men 
for the labor of ships, as well as for any other labor, who 
would always perform the services required of them heartily, 
promptly and fully, as an honest return for their wages and 
rations ; who would obey orders, not like whipped curs and 
cowed slaves, but as free men, and brave men, and wise men, 
with a republican respect for right laws, and a sensible un- 
derstanding of the fit division of responsibility between them 
and their officers. I fear not, unless some thorough, com- 
prehensive, and generously-directed educational department shall 
be adopted as a permanent, and indivisible part of our naval 


The " Great Dismal Swamp," together with the smaller 
" Dismals" (for so the term is used here), of the same cha- 
racter, along the North Carolina Coast, have hitherto been 
of considerable commercial importance as furnishing a large 
amount of lumber, and especially of shingles for our North- 
ern use as well as for exportation. The district from which 
this commerce proceeds is all a vast quagmire, the soil being 
entirely composed of. decayed vegetable fibre, saturated and 
surcharged with water; yielding or quaking on the surface to 
the tread of a man, and a large part of it, during most of 
the year, half inundated with standing pools. It is divided 


by creeks and water-veins, and in the centre is a pond six 
miles long and three broad, the shores of which, strange to 
say, are at a higher elevation above the sea, than any other 
part of the swamp, and yet are of the same miry consistency. 

The Great Dismal is about thirty miles long and ten 
miles wide on an average ; its area about 200,000 acres. 
And the little Dismal, Aligator, Catfish, Green, and other 
smaller swamps, on the shores of Albemarle and Pamlico, con- 
tain over 2,000,000 acres. A considerable part of this is 
the property of the State of North Carolina, and the proceeds 
of sales from it form the chief income of the department of 
education of that Commonwealth. 

An excellent canal, six feet in depth, passes for more than 
twenty miles through the swamp, giving passage not only to 
the lumber collected from it, but to a large fleet of coasting 
vessels engaged in the trade of the Albemarle and Pamlico 
Sounds, and making a safe outlet towards New York for all 
the corn, cotton, tar, turpentine, etc., produced in the greater 
part of the eastern section of North Carolina, which is thus 
brought to market without encountering the extremely ha- 
zardous passage outside, from Cape Hatteras to Cape Henry. 
This canal is fed by the water of the pond in the centre of 
the swamp, its summit-level being many feet below it."* 

* Of the main products of the country, the annual freightage on the Dis- 
mal Swamp Canal is about as follows ; 

Shingles 24,000,000 

Staves 6,000,000 

Plank and scantling, cubic feet . . 125,000 

Ship timber ...... 40,000 

Cotton bales . 4,500 

Shad and herring, barrels .... 50,000 

Naval stores, barrels .... 30,000 


Much 9f the larger part of the " Great Dismal" was origi- 
nally covered by a heavy forest growth. All the trees indi- 
genous to the neighboring country I found still extensively 
growing, and of full size within its borders. But the main 
production, and that which has been of the greatest value, 
has been of cypress and juniper ; (the latter commonly 
known as white cedar, at the North). From these two, im- 
mense quantities of shingles have been made. The cypress 
also affords ship-timber, now in great demand, and a great 
many rough poles of the juniper, under the name of " cedar- 
rails," are sent to New York and other ports, as fencing 
material, (generally selling at seven cents a rail,) for the 
farms of districts that have been deprived of their own na- 
tural wood by the extension of tillage required by the wants 
of neighboring towns or manufactories. 

The swamp belongs to a great many proprietors. Most 
of them own only a few acres, but some possess large tracts 
and use a heavy capital in the business. One, whose ac- 
quaintance I made, employed more than a hundred hands 
in getting out shingles alone. The value of the swamp land 
varies with the wood upon it, and the facility with which it 
can be got off, from 12i- cents to $10 an acre. It is made 
passable in any desired direction in which trees grow, by 

Spirits turpentine, barrels . > . 700 

Bacon, cwts. ..... 5,000 

Lard, kegs .....: 1,300 

Maize, bushels ..... 2,000,000 

Wheat, bushels ..... 30,000 

Peas, bushels ..... 25,000 

The canal was made with the assistance of the National Government and 
the State of Virginia, who are still the largest owners. It is admirably con- 
structed, repairs are light, and it is a good six per cent, stock. 


laying logs, cut in lengths of eight or ten feet, parallel and 
against each other on the surface of the soil, or " sponge," 
as it is called. Mules and oxen are used to some extent 
upon these roads, but transportation is mainly by hand to 
the creeks, or to ditches communicating with them or the canal. 

Except by those log-roads, the swamp is scarcely passable 
in many parts, owing not only to the softness of the sponge, 
but to the obstruction caused by innumerable shrubs, vines, 
creepers and briars, which often take entire possession of 
the surface, forming a dense brake or jungle. This, how- 
ever, is sometimes removed by fires, which of late years 
have been frequent and very destructive to the standing 
timber. The most common shrubs . are various smooth-leafed 
evergreens, and their dense, bright, glossy foliage, was exceed- 
ingly beautiful in the wintry season of my visit. There is 
a good deal of game in the swamp — bears and wild cats are 
sometimes shot, raccoons and opossums are plentiful, and 
deer are found in the drier parts and on the outskirts. The 
fishing, in the interior waters, is also said to be excellent. 

Nearly all the valuable trees have now been cut off from the 
swamp. The whole ground has been frequently gone over, the 
best timber selected and removed at each time, leaving the 
remainder standing thinly, so that the wind has more effect upon 
it ; and much of it, from the yielding of the soft soil, is uproote'd 
or broken off. The fires have also greatly injured it. The 
principal stock, now worked into shingles, is obtained from 
leneath the surface — old trunks that have been preserved by the 
wetness of the soil, and that are found by " sounding" with 
poles, and raised with hooks or pikes by the negroes. 

The quarry is giving out, however, and except that lumber, 


and especially shingles, have been in great demand at high prices 
of late, the business would be almost at an end. As it is, the 
principal men engaged in it are turning their attention to other 
and more distant supplies. A very large purchase had been 
made by one company in the Florida everglades, and a schooner, 
with a gang of hands trained in the " Dismals," was about to 
sail from Deep-creek, for this new field of operations. 


The labor in the swamp is almost entirely done by slaves ; 
and the way in which they are managed is interesting and 
instructive. They are mostly hired by their employers at a 
rent, perhaps of one hundred dollars a year for each, paid to 
their owners. They spend one or two months of the winter — 
when it is too wet to work in the swamp — at the residence of 
their master. At this period little or no work is required of 
them ; their time is their own, and if they can get any employ- 
ment, they will generally keep for themselves what they are 
paid for it. When it is sufficiently dry — usually early in 
February — they go into the swamp in gangs, each gang under a 
white overseer. Before leaving, they are all examined and 
registered at the Court-house, and " passes," good for a. year, 
are given them, in which their features and the marks upon 
their persons are minutely described. Each man is furnished 
with a quantity of provisions and clothing, of which, as well as 
of all that he afterwards draws from the stock in the hands 
of the overseer, an exact account is kept. 


Arrived at their destination, a rude camp is made, huts of 


logs, poles, shingles, and boughs being built, usually upon some 
place where shingles have been worked before, and in which the 
shavings have accumulated in small hillocks upon the soft sur 
face of the ground. 

The slave lumberman then lives measurably as a free man ; 
hunts, fishes, eats, drinks, smokes and sleeps, plays and works, 
each when and as much as he pleases. It is only required of him 
that he shall have made, after half a year has passed, such a 
quantity of shingles as shall be worth to his master so much 
money as is paid to his owner for his services, and shall refund 
the value of the clothing and provisions he has required. 

No "driving" at his work is attempted or needed. No force 
is used to overcome the indolence peculiar to the negro. The 
overseer merely takes a daily account of the number of shingles 
each man adds to the general stock, and employs another set of 
hands, with mules, to draw them to a point from which they can 
be shipped, and where they are, from time to time, called for by a 

At the end of five months the gang returns to dry-land, and a 
statement of account from the overseer's book is drawn up, some- 
thing like the following : 

Sam Bo to John Doe, Dr. 

Feb. 1. To clothing (outfit) $5 00 

Mar. 10. To clothing, as per overseer's account, 2 25 

Feb. 1. To bacon and meal (outfit) 19 00 

July 1. To stores drawn in swamp, as per 

overseer's account, 4 75 

July 1. To half-yearly hire, paid his owner-- 50 00 

$81 00 
Per Contra, Cr. 
July 1. By 10,000 shingles, as per overseer's 

account, 10c 100 00 

Balance due Sambo $19 00 


which is immediately paid him, and which, together with the 
proceeds of sale of peltry which he has got while in the 
swamp, he is always allowed to make use of as his own. ■ No 
liquor is sold or served to the negroes in the swamp, and, as 
their first want when they come out of it is an excitement, 
most of their money goes to the grog-shops. 

After a short vacation, the whole gang is taken in the 
schooner to spend another five months in the swamp as before. 
If they are good hands and work steadily, they will commonly 
be hired again, and so continuing, will spend most of their lives 
at it. They almost invariably have excellent health, as do 
also the white men engaged in the business. They all con- 
sider the water of " the Dismals" to have a medicinal virtue, 
and quite probably it is a mild tonic. It is greenish in color, 
and I thought I detected a slightly resinous taste upon first 
drinking it. Upon entering the swamp also, an agreeable 
resinous odor, resembling that of a hemlock forest, was 


The negroes working in the swamp were more sprightly and 
straight-forward in their manner and conversation than any 
field-hand plantation-negroes that I saw at the South ; two or 
three of their employers with whom I conversed spoke well of 
them, as compared with other slaves, and made no complaints of 
"rascality" or laziness. 

One of those gentlemen told me of a remarkable case of 
providence and good sense in a negro that he had employed in 
the swamp for many years. He was so trust-worthy, that he 
had once let him go to New York as cook of a lumber-schooner, 


when h 3 could, if he had chosen to remain there, have easily 
escaped from slavery. 

Knowing that he must have accumulated considerable money, 
his employer suggested to him that he might buy his freedom, and 
he immediately determined to do so. But when, on applying to his 
owner, he was asked $500 for himself, a price which, considering 
he was an elderly man, he thought too much, he declined the 
bargain ; shortly afterwards, however, he came to his employer 
again, and said that although he thought his owner was mean to 
set so high a price upon him, he had been thinking that if he 
was to be an old man he would rather be his own master, and if 
he did not live long, his money would not be of any use to him 
at any rate, and so he had concluded he would make the purchase. 

He did so, and upon collecting the various sums that he had 
loaned to white people in the vicinity, he was found to have 
several hundred dollars more than was necessary. With the 
surplus, he paid for his passage to Liberia, and bought a hand- 
some outfit. "When he was about to leave, my informant had 
made him a present, and, in thanking him for it, the free man 
had said that the. first thing' he should do, on reaching Liberia, 
would be to learn to w T rite, and, as soon as he could, he would 
write to him how he liked the country : he had been gone 
yet scarce a year, and had not been heard from. 


When it is no longer found profitable to get lumber out of 
these swamps, they will be dead property, as little or no large 
wood is growing to supply the place of that taken off, except in 
the drier parts, where pines come up, as on " old-fields." It is 


probable that some extensive soheme of draining and reclaiming 
tbem will eventually be adopted. I am aware of but a single 
attemj)t, as yet, to cultivate the sponge or true swamp soil. 
This was made by a Mr. Wallace, on the northeast border of 
the Great Dismal. He had, with creditable spirit and skill, 
reclaimed four hundred acres. Having a sufficient outfall, he 
cuts wide drains parallel to each other, and about one hundred 
and twenty-five yards apart. These serve, at first, to float away, 
for market, all the timber of value left on the tract, as well as to 
draw the water from the surface. The ground is then grubbed, 
as much as it is thought necessary, and the stumps and worth- 
less logs burnt. After cultivation, the soil is almost an impal- 
pable powder, the foot sinks to theiancle )in crossing it, and it 
rises in clouds of dust, when disturbed in a dry season. It is, 
of course, easy of cultivation, and is very productive in corn and 
potatoes — the only crops of which Mr. W. had yet made much 

Mr. W. told me that he had sold, during the previous summer, 
two thousand one hundred barrels of potatoes, which were pro- 
duced on forty acres, and were taken by contract and delivered 
at Norfolk, by middlemen for the New York market, at four 
dollars a barrel. Thus the return from forty acres was over eight 
thousand dollars, and this without any expenditure for manure 
and with very light cultivation. In New York, the potatoes 
sold readily, early in the season, at from five to ten dollars a 

Land of this description, thus managed, can be bought, in its 
unreclaimed state, at from one to five dollars an acre. The 
success of Mr. Wallace has somewhat increased the value of it, 
in his neighborhood. He reckons that the cost of reclaiming 


and fitting it entirely, in the manner that his experience leads 
him to think most profitable, would he fifty dollars an acre. 
From this is to he deducted the value of timber obtained 
from it. 

Persons moving here from the North, will be very subject to 
bilious fever during the fall months ; by prudence it may be 
partially escaped, but the danger is a permanent one at that 
season. It is not often fatal, but probably has a ruinous effect 
upon the general constitution. 


The market-gardens at Norfolk — which have been profitably 
supplying New York markets with poor early vegetables, and 
half-hardy luxuries for several years past — do not differ at all 
from market-gardens elsewhere. They are situated in every 
direction for many miles from the city, offering a striking con- 
trast, in all respects, to the large, old-fashioned Virginian farms, 
among which they are scattered. 

On one of the latter, of over a thousand acres, a friend told 
me he had seen the negroes moving long, strawy manure with 
shovels, and upon inquiry found there was not a dung-fork on 
the place. 

The soil is a poor sandy loam, and manure is brought by 
shipping from Baltimore, as well as from the nearer towns, to 
enrich it. The proprietors of the market-gardens are nearly all 
from New Jersey, and brought many of' their old white laborers 
with them. Except at picking-time, when everything possessing 
fingers is in demand, they do not often employ slaves. 

The Norfolk Argus says that, from about the 20th June to 


the 20th July, from 2,000 to 2,500 barrels of potatoes will be 
shipped daily from that city to Philadelphia and New York, 
together with 800 to 500 barrels of cucumbers, musk-melons, etc. 


While driving in a chaise from Portsmouth to Deep-river, I 
picked up on the road a jaded looking negro, who proved to be 
a very intelligent and good-natured fellow. His account of the 
lumber business, and of the life of the lumbermen in the 
swamps, in answer to my questions,, was clear and precise, 
and was afterwards verified by information obtained from his 

He told me that his name was Joseph, that he belonged to a 
church in one of the inland counties, and that he was hired out 
by the trustees of the church to his present master. He 
expressed entire contentment with his lot, but showed great 
unwillingness to be sold to go on to a plantation. He liked to 
" mind himself," as he did in the swamps. Whether he 
would still more prefer to be entirely his own master, I did not 

The Dismal Swamps are noted places of refuge for runaway 
negroes. They were formerly peopled in this way much more 
than at present ; a systematic hunting of them with dogs and 
guns having been made by individuals who took it up as a 
business about ten years ago. Children were born, bred, lived 
and died here. Joseph Church told me he had seen skeletons, 
and had helped to bury bodies recently dead. There were 
people in the swamps still, he thought, that were the children of 
runaways, and who had been runaways themselves all their lives. 
What a life it must be ; born outlaws ; educated self-stealers ; 


trained from infancy to be constantly in dread of the approach 
of a white man as a thing more fearful than wild-cats or serpents, 
or even starvation. 

There can be but few, however, if any, of these " natives " left. 
They cannot obtain the means of supporting life without coming 
often either to the outskirts to steal from the plantations, or to 
the neighborhood of the camps of the lumbermen. They depend 
much upon the charity or the wages given them by the latter. 
The poorer white men, owning small tracts of the swamps, will 
sometimes employ them, and the negroes frequently. In the 
hands of either they are liable to be ■ betrayed to the negro- 
hunters. Joseph said that they had huts in "back places," 
hidden by bushes, and difficult of access ; he had, apparently, 
been himself quite intimate with them. When the shingle 
negroes employed them, he told me, they made them get up 
logs for them, and would give them enough to eat, and some 
clothes, and perhaps two dollars a month in money. .But some, 
when they owed them money, would betray them, instead of 
paying them. 


I asked if they were ever shot. " Oh, yes," he said, " when 
the hunters saw a runaway, if he tried to get from them, they 
would call out to him, that if he did not stop they would shoot, 
and if he did not, they would shoot, and sometimes kill him. 

"But some on 'em would rather be shot than be took, sir," he 
added, simply. 

A farmer living near the swamp confirmed this account, and 
said he knew of three or four being shot in one day. 

No particular breed of dogs is needed for hunting negroes : 


blood-hounds, fox-hounds, bull-dogs, and curs were used,* and 
one white man told me how they were trained for it, as if it were 
a common or notorious practice. They are shut up when pup- 
pies, and never allowed to see a negro except while training to 
catch him. A negro is made to run from them, and they are 
encouraged to follow him until he gets into a tree, when meat is 
given them. Afterwards they learn to follow any particular 
negro by scent, and then a shoe or a piece of clothing is taken 
off a negro, and they learn to find by scent who it belongs to, 
and to tree him, etc. I don't think they are employed in the 
ordinary driving in the swamp, but only to overtake some par- 
ticular slave, as soon as possible after it is discovered that he has 
fled from a plantation. Joseph said that it was easy for the 
drivers to tell a fugitive from a regularly employed slave in the 

" How do they know them V 
™ " Oh, dey looks strange" 

"How do you mean?" 

" Sheared like, you know, sir, and kind 'o strange, cause dey 
hasn't much to eat, and ain't decent [not decently clothed], like 
we is." 

When the hunters take a negro who has not a pass, or " free 
papers," and they don't know whose slave he is, they confine 
him in jail, and advertise him. If no one claims him within a 
year he is sold to the highest bidder, at a public sale, and this 
sale gives title in law against any subsequent claimant. 

The form of the advertisements used in such cases is shown by 

* I have since seen a pack of negro-dogs, chained in couples, and probably 
going to the field. They were all of a breed, and in appearance between a 
Scotch stag-hound and a fox-hound. 


tlie following, which are cut from North Carolina newspapers, pub- 
lished in counties adjoining the Dismals. Such advertisements 
are quite as common in the papers of many parts of the Slave 
States as those of horses or cattle " Taken up " in those of the 
North : 

¥AS TAKEN UP and committed to the Jail of Halifax County, 
on the 26tli day of May, a dark colored boy, who says his 
name is Jordan Artis. Said boy says he was born free, and was 
bound out to William Beale, near Murfreesboro', Hertford County, 
N. C, and is now 21 years of age. The owner is requested to come 
forward, prove property, pay charges, and take the said boy away, 
within the time prescribed by law ; otherwise he will be dealt with 
as the law directs. 0. P. SHELL, Jailer. 

Halifax County, N. C, June 8, 1855. 


AND COMMITTED to the Jail of New Hanover County, on the 
5th of March, 1855, a Negro Man, who says his name is 
EDWARD LLOYD. Said negro is about 35 or 40 years old, light 
complected, 5 f«et 9^ inches high, slim built, upper fore teeth out ; 
says he is a Mason by trade, that he is free, and belongs in Alex- 
andria, Va., that he served his time at the Mason business under 
Mr. Wm. Stuart, of Alexandria. He was taken up and committed 
as a runaway. His owner is notified to come forward, prove prop- 
erty, pay charges, and take him away, or he will be dealt with as 
the law directs. E. D. HALL, Sheriff. 

In the same paper with the last are four advertisements of 
Eunaways : two of them, as specimens, I transcribe. 

$209 REWARD. 

RAN AWAY from the employ of Messrs. Holmes & Brown, on 
Sunday night, 20th inst., a negro man named YATNEY or 
MEDICINE, belonging to the undersigned. Said boy is stout built, 
about 5 feet 4 inches high, 22 years old, and dark complected, and 
has the appearance, when walking slow, of one leg being a little 
shorter than the other. He was brought from Chapel Hill, and is 
probably lurking either in the neighborhood of that place, or 
Beatty's Bridge, in Bladen County. 

The above reward will be paid for evidence sufficient to convict 
any white person of harboring him, or a reward of $25 for his appre- 
hension and confinement in any Jail in the State, so that I can get 
him, or for his delivery to me in Wilmington. 




FROM THE SUBSCRIBER, on the 27th of May, his negro boy 
ISOME. Said boy is about 21 years of age ; rather light com- 
plexion ; very coarse hair ; weight about 150; hight about 5 feet 6 
or 7 inches ; rather pleasing countenance ; quick and easy spoken ; 
rather a downcast look. It is thought that he is trying to make 
his way to Franklin county, N. C, where he was hired in Jan. last, 
of Thomas J. Blackwell. A liberal Reward will be given for his 
confinement in any Jail in North or South Carolina, or to any one 
who will give information where he can be found. 

Canwayboro', S. C. 

Handbills, written or printed, offering rewards for the return 
of Runaway slaves, are to be constantly seen at nearly every 
court-house, tavern, and post-office in the Southern States. The 
frequency with which these losses must occur, however, on large 
plantations, is most strongly evidenced by the following para- 
graph from the domestic-news columns of the Fayetteville Ob- 
sewer. A man who would pay these prices must anticipate fre- 
quent occasion to use his purchase. 

" Mr. J. L. Bryan, of Moore county, sold at public auction, on the 
20th instant, a pack of ten hounds, trained for hunting runaways, for 
the sum of $1,540. The highest price paid for any one dog was 
$301 ; lowest price, $75 ; average for the ten, $154. The terms 
of sale were six months' credit, with approved security, and interest 
from date. " 

The newspapers of the Southwestern States frequently con- 
tain advertisements similar to the following, which is taken from 
the West Tennessee Democrat : 

for CATCHINO NEGROES in the Southwest. They can 
take the trail TWELVE HOURS after the NEGRO HAS PASS- 
ED, and catch him with ease. I live just four miles southwest of 
Boliver, on the road leading from Boliver to Whitesville. I am 
ready at all times to catch runaway negroes. — March 2, 1853. 





The Richmond Enquirer, a very strong and influential pro- 
slavery newspaper of Virginia, in advocating some rail-road pro- 
jects, thus describes the progress of the State relatively to that 
of some of the free-states, since the Revolution. (Dec. 29, 1852.) 

" Virginia, anterior to the Revolution, and up to the adoption of 
the Federal Constitution, contained more wealth and a larger popu- 
lation than any other State of this Confederacy. * * * 

"Virginia, from being first in point of wealth aud political power, 
has come down to the fifth in the former, and the fourth in the latter. 
New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ohio stand above her 
in wealth, and all, but Massachusetts, in population and political 
power. Three of these States are literally chequered over with 
rail-roads and canals ; and the fourth (Massachusetts) with rail-roads 
alone. * * * 

" But when we find that the population of the single city of New 
York and its environs exceeds the whole free population of Eastern 
Virginia, and the valley between the Blue Ridge and Alleghany, we 
have cause to feel deeply for our situation. Philadelphia herself 
contains a population far greater than the whole free population of 
Eastern Virginia. The little State of Massachusetts has an aggre- 
gate wealth exceeding that of Virginia by more than one hundred 
and twenty-six millions of dollars — a State, too, which is incapable 
of subsisting its inhabitants from the production of its soil. And 
New York, which was as much below Massachusetts, at the adoption 


of the Federal Constitution, in wealth and power, as the latter was 
below Virginia, now exceeds the wealth of both. While the aggre- 
gate Avealth of New York, in 1850, amounted to $1,080,309,216, that 
of Virginia was $436,701,082 — a difference in favor of the former 
of $643,608,134. The un wrought mineral wealth of Virginia ex- 
ceeds that of New York. The climate and soil are better ; the back 
country, with equal improvements, would contribute as much." 

The same journal adds, on another occasion: — 

" In no State of the Confederacy do the facilities for manufactur- 
ing operations exist in greater profusion than in Virginia. Every 
condition essential to success in these employments is found here in 
prodigal abundance, and in a peculiarly convenient combination. 
First, we have a limitless supply of water-power — the cheapest of 
motors — in localities easy of access. So abundant is this supply of 
water-power that no value is attached to it distinct from the adja- 
cent lands, except in the vicinity of the larger towns. On the Poto- 
mac and its tributaries ; on the Rappahannock; on the James and 
its tributaries ; on the Roanoke and its tributaries ; on the Holston, 
the Kanawha, and other streams, numberless sites may now be 
found where the supply of water-power is sufficient for the purposes 
of a Lawrence or a Lowell. Nor is there any want of material for 
building at these localities; timber and granite are abundant; and, 
to complete the circle of advantages, the climate is genial and 
healthful, and the soil eminently productive. * * * Another 
advantage which Virginia possesses, for the manufacture of cotton, is 
the proximity of its mills to the raw material. At the present prices 
of the staple, the value of this advantage is estimated at 10 per 

The Lynchburg Virginian, another newspaper of respectability, 
having a similar purpose in hand, namely, to induce capitalists 
to invest their money in enterprises that shall benefit the State, 
observes that — 

" The coal fields of Virginia are the most extensive in the world, 
and her coal is of the best and purest qtraltfcy. s Her iron deposits 
are altogether inexhaustible, and in many instances so pure that it is 


malleable in its primitive state ; and many of these deposits in the 
immediate vicinity of extensive coal-fields. She has, too, very ex- 
tensive deposits of copper, lead and gypsum. Her rivers are numer- 
ous and bold, generally with fall enough for extensive water power. 

" A remarkable feature in the mining and manufacturing prospects 
of Virginia is, the ease and economy with which all her minerals are 
mined ; instead of being, as in England and elsewhere, generally im- 
bedded deep within the bowels of the earth, from which they can 
be got only with great labor and at great cost, ours are found every- 
where on the hills and slopes, with their ledges dipping in the direc- 
tion of the plains below. Why, then, should not Virginia at once 
employ at least half of her labor and capital in mining and manufac- 
turing? Richmond could as profitably manufacture all cotton and 
woolen goods as Lowell, or any other town in New England. Why 
should not Lynchburg, with all her promised facility of getting coal 
and pig metal, manufacture all articles of iron and steel just as 
cheaply, and yet as profitably, as any portion of the northern States ? 
Why should not every town and village on the line of every rail-road 
in the State, erect their shops, in which they may manufacture a 
thousand articles of daily consumption, just as good and cheap as 
they may be made anywhere ? * * * 

" Dependent upon Europe and the North for almost every yard 
of cloth, and every coat, and boot, and hat we wear ; for our axes, 
scythes, tubs, and buckets — in short, for everything except our bread 
and meat ! It must occur to the South that if our relations with the 
North should ever be severed — and how soon they may be, none can 
know (may God avert it long !) — we would, in all the South, not be 
able to clothe ourselves. We could not fell our forests, plow our 
fields, nor mow our meadows. In fact, we would be reduced to a 
state more abject than we are willing to look at, even prospectively. 
And yet, with all these things staring us in the face, we shut our 
eyes, and go on blindfold." 

At the Convention for the formation of the Virginia State 
Agricultural Society, in 1852, the draft of an address to the farmers 
of the State was read, approved, and once adopted by the Con- 
vention. The vote by which it was adopted was soon afterwards 
reconsidered, and it was again approved and adopted. A second 


time it was reconsidered ; and finally it was rejected, on the 
ground that there were admissions in it that would feed the 
fanaticism of the abolitionists. No one argued against it on the 
ground of the falsity or inaccuracy of these admissions. Twenty 
of the most respectable proprietors in the State, immediately 
afterwards, believing it to contain "matter of grave import," 
which should not be suppressed for such a reason, united in 
requesting a copy of it for publication. In the note of these 
gentlemen to the author, they express the belief that Virginia 
now " possesses the richest soil, most genial climate, and cheap- 
est labor on earth." The author of the address, in his reply, 
says : " Fanaticism is a fool for whose vagaries I am not re- 
sponsible. I am a pro-slavery man — I believe it, at this time, 
impossible to abolish it, and not desirable if it were possible." 

The address was accordingly published. I make the follow- 
ing extracts from it, not only on account of the incontrovertible 
facts presented in them, but to show that the ostrich-habit, of 
burying their heads in the ground before anything they don't 
like, is not universal with Virginians : 


"'The Southern States stand foremost in agricultural labor, 
though they hold but the third rank in population.' At the head 
of these Southern States, in production, in extent of territory, in 
climate, in soil, and in population, stands the Commonwealth of 
Virginia. She is a nation of farmers. Eight-tenths of her indus- 
try is expended upon the soil ; but less than one-third of her 
domain is in pasturage, or under the plow." 

" Out of somewhat more than thirty-nine millions of acres, she tills 
but little over ten millions of acres, or about twenty-six and a quarter 
per cent., whilst New York has subdued about forty-one per cent., 
or twelve and a quarter out of her twenty-nine and a half millions 
of acres : and Massachusetts, with her sterile soil and inhospitable 

l68 our slave states. 

climate, has reclaimed from the forest, the quarry, and the marsh, 
about forty-two and a half per cent., or two and one-eighth out of 
her little territory of five millions of acres. Yet, according to the 
census of 1840, only six-tenths of the labor of New York, and four- 
tenths of that of Massachusetts, or, relatively, one-fifth and two- 
fifths less than our own, is expended upon agriculture. * * * 

"The live stock of Virginia are worth only three dollars and 
thirty-one cents for every arable acre ; but in New York they are 
worth six dollars and seven cents, and in Massachusetts four dollars 
and fifty-two cents. 

" The proportion of hay for the same quantity of land is, for 
Virginia, eighty-one pounds ; for New York, six hundred and 
seventy -nine pounds ; for Massachusetts, six hundred and eighty- 
four pounds. * * * 

"With access to the same markets, and with hundreds of me- 
chanics of our own, who can vie with the best Northern manufacturers, 
we find that our implements are inferior, that the New York farmer 
spends upon his nearly three times as much as we do upon ours, and 
the Massachusetts farmer more than double. * * * 

" Manure is indispensable to good husbandry. Judging from the 
history of agriculture in all other countries, we may safely say, that 
farming can never attain to continued perfection where manure is 
not put on with an unsparing hand. By far the larger part of this 
can only be made by stock, which should, at the same time, be made 
the source of profit, at least sufficient to pay the cost of their keep, 
so that, other things being equal, it is a safe rule to estimate the 
condition of a farming district by the amount of live stock it may 
possess, and the provision made for their sustenance. Applied in 
this instance, we see that the New York farmer has invested in live 
stock two dollars and seventy-six cents, and the Massachusetts 
farmer one dollar and twenty-one cents per acre more than the Vir- 
* ginia farmer. In pasturage we cannot tell the difference. It is well, 
perhaps, for the honor of the State, that we cannot. But in hay, 
New York has five hundred and ninety-eight pounds, and Massa- 
chusetts six hundred and three pounds more per acre than we have. 
This, however, does not present the true state of the case. Land- 
locked by mountain barriers, as yet impassable for the ordinary 
agricultural staples, or debarred from their production by distance 
and prohibitory rates of transportation, most of the wealth and 


exports of many considerable portions of our State consists of live 
stock alone. What proportion these parts bear to the whole, we 
have been unable definitely to ascertain ; but it is, no doubt, so great 
as to warrant us in assuming a much more considerable disparity 
than the statistics show in the live stock of the whole Atlantic 
slope, as compared with New York and Massachusetts. And we 
shall appreciate, still more highly, the skill of the Northern farmer, 
if we reflect that a readier market for every, the most trivial, product 
of his farm, operates a constant temptation to break up his rotation 
and diminish his stock. 

"In the above figures, carefully calculated from the data of 
authentic documents,* we find no cause for self-gratulation, but some 
food for meditation. They are not without use to those who would 
improve the future by the past. They show that we have not done 
our part in the bringing of land into cultivation ; that, notwithstand- 
ing natural advantages which greatly exceed those of the two States 
drawn into parallel with Virginia, we are yet behind them both — 
that with forty and sixty per cent, respectively of their industry 
devoted to other pursuits, into which it has been lured by prospects 
of greater gain, they have done more than we have done. * * * 

" Whilst our population has increased for the last ten years, in a 
ratio of 11-66, that of New York has increased in a ratio of 27 - 52, 
and that of Massachusetts at the still heavier and more startling rate 
of 34 "81. With a territorial area thirty per cent, larger than New 
York, we have but little more than one-third of her Congressional 
representation ; and Massachusetts, only one-eighth our size, comes 
within two of our number of representatives, we being cut down to 
thirteen, while she rises to eleven. And thus we, who once swayed 
the councils of the Union, find our power gone, and our influence 
on the wane, at a time when both are of vital importance to our 
prosperity, if not to our safety. As other States accumulate the 
means of material greatness, and glide past us on the road to wealth 
and empire, we slight the warnings of dull statistics, and drive lazily 
along the field of ancient customs, or stop the plow to speed the 
politician — should we not, in too many cases, say with more pro- 
priety, the demagogue ! 

* Abstract of the Seventh Census, and the able work of Professor Tucker, oa 
the " Progress of the United States in Population and Wealth." 



" State pride is a good thing, it is one mode in which patriotism is 
manifested. But it is not always a wise one. Certainly not, when 
it makes us content on small grounds. And when it smothers up 
improvement in self-satisfaction, it is a most pernicious thing. We 
have much to be proud of in Virginia. In intellect and fitness to 
command, in personal and social qualities, in high tone and noble 
bearing, in loyalty, in generosity, and magnanimity, and disinterested- 
ness, above all, in moral purity, we once stood — let us hope, still 
stand — preeminent among our sister States. But the possession 
and practice of these virtues do not comprise our whole duty as 
men or as citizens. The great decree which has gone forth ordaining 
that we shall "inci - ease, and multiply, and replenish the earth," 
enjoins upon us quite other duties, which cannot be neglected with 
impunity; so we have found out by experience — for we have 
neglected these duties. And when we contemplate our field of labor? 
and the work we have done in it, we cannot but observe the sad 
contrast between capacity and achievement. With a wide-spread 
domain, with a kindly soil, with a climate whose sun radiates fertility, 
and whose very dews distill abundance, we find our inheritance so 
wasted that the eye aches to behold the prospect." 

The Census of 1850 gives the following values to agricul- 
tural land in the adjoining States of Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

In Virginia. In Pennsylvania. 

No. of acres improved land in farms, 10,360,135 8,626,619 

" unimproved, 15,792,176 6,294,728 

Cash value of farms, $216,401,543— §8 an acre. $407,876,099— §25 an acre 

Considering that, at the Bevolution, Virginia had nearly twice 
the population of Pennsylvania, was in possession of much more 
wealth or disposable capital, and had much the best natural 
facilities for external commerce and internal communication, if 
her political and social constitution had been and had continued 
equally good, and her people equally industrious and enterprising 
with those of Pennsylvania, there is no reason why the value 
of her farms should not have been, at this time, at least equal 


to those of Pennsylvania. Were it so, it appears that Virginia, 
in that particular alone, would now be richer than she is by four 
hundred and thirty millions of dollars. 

If it should be thought that this difference between the value 
of land in Virginia and Pennsylvania is in some degree due to 
more fertile soils in the latter, a similar comparison may be made 
with the other adjoining free State, and old State of New Jersey, 
the climate of which, owing to its vicinity to the ocean, differs 
imperceptibly from that of Virginia, while its soil is decidedly 
less fertile, taking both States on an average. The average 
value of farming-land in New Jersey is recorded at $44. 

Give this value to the Virginia farms, and the difference between 
it and their present value would buy, at a large valuation, all 
the slaves now in the State, send them to Africa, provide each 
family of them five hundred dollars to start with when they 
reached there, and leave still a surplus which, divided among 
the present white population of the State, would give between 
two and three thousand dollars to each family. 

Some Southern writers have lately objected to comparisons 
of density of population, as indications of the prosperity of 
communities. Between two adjoining communities, however, 
where there are no restrictions upon the movements of the popu- 
lations, and when the people are so ready to move as both those 
of Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and of Virginia have shown 
themselves to be, the price of land must indicate with considerable 
exactness the comparative value or desirableness of it, all things 
considered, to live upon. The Virginians do not admit, and have 
no occasion to do so, that Pennsylvania and New Jersey have 
any advantage over Virginia, in soil, in climate, or in any natural 


Why, then, these differences ? 

In intellectual productions, the same general comparative 
barrenness is noticeable. One or two of the richest men in 
material wealth in the United States, live in Virginia ; but there 
are, also, more excessively poor men than anywhere else. 
The best examples of the application of science, economically 
to agriculture, can, I suspect, be found in Virginia ; but the 
generally-followed system of agriculture is the worst, under 
the circumstances, that the ingenuity of penny-wise simpletons 
has yet contrived in this country. So it is with intellectual 
wealth: there are a few minds learned and highly cultivated, 
but says the Richmond Whig — the leading Know-nothing news- 
paper in the Southern States — with a provincial simplicity, the 
sincerity of which will hardly be credible to men of the world : 

"We receive nearly all our books from Northern or foreign 
authors — gotten up, printed by Northern or foreign publishers — 
while we have among us numberless men of ripe scholarship, pro- 
found acquirements, elegant and forcible writers — men willing to 
devote themselves to such labor, only a Southern hook is not patron- 
ized. The North usually scowls at it, ridicules it, or damns it with 
faint praise ; and the South takes on a like hue and complexion and 
neglects it. We have printers and publishers able, willing, and com- 
petent to publish, but, such is the apathy on the part of Southern 
people, that it involves hazard to Southern publishers to put them 
out. Indeed, until recently, almost all the publications, even of 
Southern books, issued (and that was their only hope of success) 
from Northern houses. The last chance now of getting a Southern 
book sold, is to manage to secure the favorable notice of the Northern 
press, and then the South buys it. Our magazines and periodicals 
languish for support." 

Mr. Howison, " the Virginia Historian," observes : 

" The question might be asked, where is the literature of Vir- 


ginia, and it would not be easily answered. It is a melancholy fact, 
that her people have never been a reading people. In the mass they 
have shown an indifference to polite literature and education in gene- 
ral depressing to the mind that wishes to see them respectable and 

"It is with pain," says the same authority, "that we are com- 
pelled to speak of the horrible cloud of ignorance that rests on 
Virginia," and he computes that (1848) there are in the State 
166,000 youth, between seven and sixteen years of age, and of 
these 126,000 attend no school at all, and receive no education 
except what can be imparted by poor and ignorant parents. 
Besides these, he reckons 449,087 slaves and 48,852 free 
negroes, with few exceptions, wholly uneducated. 

" The policy which discourages further extension of knowledge 
among them is necessary : but the fact remains unchanged, that they 
exist among us, a huge mass of mind, almost entirely unenlightened. 
We fear that the most favorable estimates will leave, in our State, 
683,000 rational beings Avho are destitute of the merest rudiments of 


What is the cause of the comparative poverty of Virginia 
thus asserted and described? 

This is a question often asked, and is one of direct personal 
interest to many at the North ; to capitalists, for instance, who 
are urged to invest their funds in Virginia lands, mines, and 
other stocks, and to creditors of the State, and of corporations 
and individuals in the State. It is especially interesting to a 
large class of persons who would prefer to live in a milder climate 
than that of any of the free States, but who are withheld from 
immigrating to Virginia by the potent fact, that wealth has not 
accumulated to the people at large in that State, with anything 


like the ease and rapidity that it has to those of the adjoining 
northern States. 

I am myself one of this class, and it certainly was a great 
temptation to me, while I was enjoying the delightful January 
climate of Virginia, to be offered any amount of land which I was 
certain could he easily made to produce, under good tillage, 
twenty-five or thirty bushels of wheat to the acre, within twenty- 
four hours of New York by rail, and forty-eight by water- 
carriage, at exactly one fortieth of the price, by the acre, at 
which I could sell my New York farm. And, since my return 
from the South, I have been several times consulted by persons, 
some of them of considerable estate, who had determined, 
more or less definitely, to remove to Virginia, induced 
thereto by such letters as the following, which are constantly 
addressed to Northern capitalists, farmers, and skilled laborers, 
or manufacturers, by Virginia land-owners. This particular one 
I take from the American Agriculturist, to the editor of which 
it was directed, and by whom it was published, gratis and 
without comment, as such advertisements usually are, in our 
agricultural newspapers : 

"Virginia — Inducements for Northern Men to Invest Capital. 
Why is it that capitalists do not seek for a home in Western Virginia ? 
Why is it that manufacturers do not explore this delightful country ? 
Is it not worth their notice ? Are there no inducements offered here 
for the honest, industrious laborer ? I will offer some reasons why men 
of the North should look to the South for a home for themselves and 
offspring. Western Virginia is, in the first place, one of the most desir- 
able portions of the Southern States. Every facility is here offered for 
the investment of capital. Our mountains teem with rich ores of every 
kind ; our lands blossom with golden harvests. The rippling streams 
that gurgle down our mountain-slopes furnish every variety of water- 
power, easily adapted to the propelling of machinery. The States west 
and south furnish a ready market for the sale of manufactured articles, 


or agricultural products. The farmers here are dependent, notwith- 
standing the facilities of manufacturing, to a very great extent, upon the 
North for all their implements of husbandry and household articles. 
Suppose, then, that we had some fifty or a hundred different manufac- 
turing establishments in Western Virginia, it would supersede the 
necessity of importing such things from abroad as wagons, buggies, 
clocks, brooms, rakes, shoes, boots, coats, pants, etc., etc. Every mer- 
chant in the Southern and Western States supplies his customers with 
these articles from the North. Now, suppose for one moment, that our 
merchants can buy from the Northern manufacturers, and pay the 
carriage upon articles gotten up there, and sold to the Southern States 
at fine profit, is it not reasonable to suppose, if the article was manu- 
factured here, the amount now consumed in transportation would be 
saved to the manufacturers located here upon the spot, and make him a 
handsome profit ? 

" No man can form an adequate idea of the extent of this trade, unless 
he travel through the Southern States. Scarcely a broom, a clock, a 
boot, or shoe, or anything of the kind is used in the South that is not 
manufactured by Northern industry ; and yet all articles used can be 
readily manufactured here as well as there, and, if taken hold of by some 
enterprising men, would be found more profitable. In fact, several 
Northern men have already settled in Northern Virginia, and are now 
pushing forward a happy and prosperous trade. The Virginia and 
Tennessee Rail-road will soon be completed, along the line of which an 
immense traffic must be conducted. Then have you no thorough-going 
business men, who cannot find employment at the North, and who can- 
not earn more than a mere livelihood ? If so, I advise them to turn 
their faces at once toward Western Virginia, where the smiles of Pro- 
vidence and the rays of a Southern sun will cheer and animate them in 
their rapid strides to happiness and wealth." 

Here is another one, ingeniously contrived, for wide-awake 
people who read the Tribune, and are supposed to have pre- 
judices : 

'•' The effects of Slavery in this region have only been such as to ren- 
der it a more profitable locality for the new settler, provided, always, he 
does not suffer himself to be engrafted with its spirit. This suggests to 
my mind another observation, taken from the experience of settlers from 


the North. A single family, of New England habits and tastes, settling 
among neighbors of the slave-holding, work-hating class, becomes, in a 
short time, tired of the isolation from all the friends and the habits to 
which they have been accustomed, and disgusted with the condition of 
things they find around them. The wife misses her relations and 
neighbors, and her Sunday-meeting, and, after a year or two of trial, 
declares she will stay no longer ; the children want the ready compan- 
ionship of more thickly populated districts ; and the experiment is given 
up, not because it will not pay in a pecuniary sense, but for the reasons 
I have mentioned. Now, to obviate this difficulty, let families come and 
settle in groups, or let a new settler, in selecting a location, choose one 
in a neighborhood already occupied with small farmers or mechanics of 
his own class, with whom he can associate, and whose example will back 
him in continuing his system of working with his own hand. This plan 
has been adopted, as you are aware, in some of the northeastern coun- 
ties of Virginia, which now contain a population of active, intelligent 
and prosperous farmers and mechanics, from uon-slaveholding States, 
while single settlements in other equally favorable localities have been 
abandoned. The price of land in the lower counties of this State varies 
from three to fifty dollars an acre. In many situations, land of good 
quality can now be bought, covered with timber, valuable either for fuel 
or for ship-building, in close proximity to water-carriage, or to a line 
of rail-road, at eight or ten dollars an acre. The clearing of the land 
will often pay most or all the cost, leaving a soil of good quality, and 
easily cultivated, and Avhich, from the nature of things, must rapidly 
enhance in value." 

I have read at least a hundred such advertisements in different 
Northern newspapers ; a dozen were printed in the Daily Times, 
cotemporaneously with my own letters from the South ; and in 
the more pro-slavery journals they may be seen, in one form or 
another, almost weekly. 

When Virginia gentlemen thus carefully argue the advan- 
tages which their State offers to an immigration from the free 
States ; and when they publicly urge that Slavery is no 
obstacle, but the contrary, to the success of such immigrants, 


it seems to me they have no business to stigmatize as im- 
pertinent, Northern curiosity to learn all about the matter. 

Even the condition of the slaves, moral and material, the 
Internal Slave Trade, the effects of Slavery on the character 
of the people, I consider to be as distinctly a part of the 
general rural economy of the country, as legitimately con- 
nected with the value of public stocks, and as pertinent a 
subject of inquiry, as any of those points Avith regard to 
which every farmer in the United States was required to give 
information, under the head of crops and live-stock, in the cen- 
sus of 1850. Nor do I believe, that justice or kindness to 
the Slave States, or regard to the stability of the Union, 
can be opposed to a thorough — so it be honest — investigation 
of the condition of those States, and study of the causes of 
that condition. 

Let me frankly, and with the most respectful and friendly 
disposition towards those who disagree with me, state my 
convictions on this subject. 

Very little candid, truthful, and unprejudiced public dis- 
cussion has yet been had on this vexed subject of Slavery. 
The extremists of the South esteem their opponents as mad- 
men, or robbers ; and invariably misrepresent, misunderstand, 
and, consequently, entirely fail to meet their arguments. The 
extremists of the North esteem the slave-holders as robbers and 
tyrants, willfully and malevolently oppressive and cruel. But 
I suppose more has been done, to prevent reasonable views 
and judicious action, by those, both North and South, who 
have held moderate and more reasonable opinions, than. by 
those of either of the extreme parties. I mean that, in the 

endeavor to suppress agitation, they have produced an un- 


healthy distrust, and an unsound and dangerous condition of 
the public mind. In the feverish effort to secure peace, they 
have forgotten, as is now apparent, the easiest lessons of 
history and disregarded the simplest demands of prudence. 
"Men," says Macaulay, "are never so likely to settle a 
question rightly, as when they discuss it freely." The prin- 
ciple is at the basis of free institutions. Its reverse is the 
apex of despotism. The attempt to suppress discussion has 
given every advantage to the unterrified partisans on both sides, 
who assume to fight for truth and rights. 

Since the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, I presume 
no one doubts, whatever he may desire, that Slavery must 
continue to be an important, if not an engrossing element in our 
politics. It is impossible that it should not, while slaves are 
an important article of commerce, and while their value can 
be materially affected by the national legislation. Speculation 
on such legislation will occur, and will be guarded against , 
and there will be more or less consideration of the constitu- 
tional rights of each side of the Union, according as the 
people are rightly informed and honestly dealt with by 

Northern men have, at present, too little information about 
the South that has not come to them in a very inexact, or in 
a very suspicious form, as in novels and narratives of fugi- 
tive slaves. Northerners traveling in the South, are gene- 
rally merchants, looking after their personal business ; invalids 
sauntering through the winter in sunny places ; or wealthy 
people, looking for pleasure to the society of the hospitable 
wealthy. There is but little Southern literature ; and what 
there is is mainly imaginative or controversial. Of the 


masses of the South, black and white, it is more difficult for 
one to obtain information, than of those of any country 
in Europe. I saw much more of what I had not antici- 
pated and less of what I had, in the Slave States, than, with 
a somewhat extended traveling experience, in any other country 
[ ever visited. 

To return to the question of the condition of Virginia and of 
its causes. 

The leading agriculturists of the State who are least afraid of 
" abolitionism," declare the conviction that not only has Virginia 
at this time richer soils and cheaper than the wealthier States, 
but also the cheapest labor in the world ; the organ of the State 
Agricultural Society sustains the same opinion ; and Mr. Euffin, 
the most eminent rural economist in the State, is allowed to 
advocate the same opinion in a Keport of the United States 
Patent Office. 

If it is true that here are richer soils, cheaper soils, and less 
expensive means of developing their wealth than in Pennsyl- 
vania, New York, and Massachusetts, why is it that the immensely 
more abundant capital of those States is not attracted to Vir- 
ginia ? 

Of course a question so important to the property-holders of 
the State cannot fail to be gravely considered, and answered 
according to every reflective man's sagacity. In fact, no new pro- 
ject of legal or social change is ever advocated, that its friends 
do not contend that the measure will remove either the sole 
cause or one of the chief causes of the decadence of Virginia. 
Thus seldom a day passes in the session of the Legislature, that 
some one does not give his judgment upon the subject. At 
every gathering of the people, for political purposes or for the 


advancement of schemes for the general benefit, some orator is 
almost sure to take up the topic of the poverty and slow progress 
of the State ; and, after denouncing the fanaticism and licentious- 
ness of any one who dares suspect that slavery has anything to do 
with it, to explain what, in the orator's opinion, is the real cause, 
and what is the right way to remove it. 

Among the causes thus presented, the following are the only 
ones having any breadth of application, of which I can recollect 
to have heard. 

1. The want of better education of the mass of the people, 
(for it is maintained that the wealthier class are better educated 
than any in the free States). 

2. The want of more agricultural science and skill. 

3. The want of more and better roads, canals, etc. 

4. The want of direct commerce with Europe and elsewhere. 

5. The want of manufactures. 

All these alleged causes, and all others, that I have ever heard 
assigned for the decrepitude of .the State, are reduced to the 
following two, by simply asking, why Virginia has these wants 
more than the free States : 

1. The more debilitating effects of the climate upon white 
people ; and 

2. The gentle blood and the corresponding character, averse to 
commercial speculation, inherited by the people. 

These are the only reasons that I know of, except those 
pointing to slavery and social aristocracy, that appear on the 
face worthy of a moment's consideration. 

In regard to the first, the authority of those who sus- 
tain the opinion, that slavery is a blessing to the State, 
might be cited for the averment, that the climate of the 


greater part of Virginia is no less favorable to the activity 
of the white man than that of the more northern States. 
North of the country bordering upon a slave population, no 
similar connection between climate and prosperity is to be 
found ; the wealth of Massachusetts is greater than that of 
the States lying north of her ; land is of higher value in New 
Jersey than in Maine ; the agriculture of parts of Eastern 
Pennsylvania is more commendable and more profitable than 
that of any part of New York ; the manufacturing industry of 
New York is far greater than that of Virginia, but not so great 
as that of the States between her and Virginia, and between 
which and herself there is as great a difference of climate, and of 
the same nature, as that between them and Virginia. The 
most active, enterprising, successful and prosperous States of 
antiquity, were those of a climate warmer than that of States 
in commercial subjection to them, and warmer than that of 
Virginia. Any slight additional enervating effect that the 
climate of Virginia may possibly have upon those born and 
bred under it, must be more than compensated for, to the 
agricultural interest of the State, by the greater length of 
the season in which the ground is in a condition to be 
worked, and the greater cheapness with which cattle can be 
wintered ; to manufacturing, mining, and commercial interests, 
by the smaller liability of their operations being interrupted by 
ice, etc. 

With regard to the second reason, which is that held by the 
Richmond Enquirer, as will be inferred from the polite and 
modest passage extracted below,* it must be considered that 

* " The relations between the North-and the South are very analogous to 
those which subsisted between Greece and the Roman Empire after the sub- 


since the earlier settlements of the American colonies, . the 
climate and the institutions of the New World have effected 
important modifications in the character as well as the physique 
of the descendants of the settlers, why, then, with a climate so 
unessentially dissimilar, if it be not for the institutions which 
are fundamentally dissimilar, has this change been so much less 
favorable to material prosperity in Virginia than in the adjoin- 
ing States ? The people of the free States, with as great differ- 
ences of origin between themselves as between the majority of 
them and the majority of Virginians, are now comparative- 
ly homogeneous in the elements of character which lead to 
prosperity. Is the difference of blood between them and those 
of Virginia, sufficient to account for the differences in character 
assumed to be found on crossing the line of freedom and slavery? 
But not one-tenth certainly, probably not one-thousandth, of the 
fathers of Virginia were of gentle blood, as those who take this 
ground seem to assume. The majority of them were sold and 
bought as laborers. There is no evidence that those who were 
gentle born, were less endowed with the disposition to gain 
wealth than their fellow-countrymen who settled New England, 
or the Dutch of New York, or the Swedes and Germans that 

jugation of Achaia by the Consul Mummius. The dignity and energy of the 
Roman character, conspicuous in war and in politics, were not easily tamed 
and adjusted to the arts of industry and literature. The degenerate and pliant 
Greeks, on the contrary, excelled in the handicraft and polite professions. We 
learn from the vigorous invective of Juvenal, that they were the most useful 
and capable of servants, whether as pimps or professors of rhetoric. Obsequi- 
ous, dexterous and ready, the versatile Greeks monopolized the business of 
teaching, publishing, and manufacturing in the Roman Empire — allowing their 
masters ample leisure for the service of the State, in the Senate or in the field. 
The people of the northern States of this Confederacy exhibit the same aptitude 
for the arts of industry. They excel as clerks, mechanics, and tradesmen, 
and they have monopolized the business of teaching, publishing, and ped- 


contributed so largely to the settlement of New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania — the contrary is, in fact, very obvious. That the 
few people of gentle blood had a paramount influence upon the 
character of the province, through their legislative and social 
power, I do not deny ; indeed, I believe that through their 
exercise of this power and through a similar undemocratic, 
uneconomical and unjust, though not unpardonable, exercise of 
power at the present time, by a part of the people over the 
remainder, the character of the whole has been unfavorably 
affected ; and to this despotism and this submission to injustice, 
it may not be unreasonable to attribute whatever want of prospe- 
rity there is in Virginia, when compared with the States where 
such causes have been wanting or have been less. 

By any man whose own mind is not fettered by the system, or 
who is not very greatly affected by prejudice or by self-interest, 
in sustaining the system, it is difficult for me to believe that 
this cause must not be considered far more satisfactory than any 
other that I have ever heard suggested. 

There are many gentlemen who believe, I doubt not, with 
perfect sincerity, Slavery to have been, and to be, a blessing to 
both the white and to the black people of the State ; but the 
great reasons of their devotion to the system are, so far as I 
have learned them, rather prospective than otherwise, after 
all. They believe there are seeds, at present almost inert, of 
disaster at the North, against which Slavery will be their 
protection ; indications that these are already beginning to be 
felt or anticipated by prophetic minds, they think they see in 
the demands for " Land Limitation," in the anti-rent troubles, 
in strikes of workmen, in the distress of emigrants at the 
eddies of their current, in diseased philanthropy, in radical 


democracy, and in the progress of socialistic ideas in general. 
The North, say they, has progressed under the high pressure 
of unlimited competition ; as the population grows denser, there 
will be terrific explosions, disaster, and ruin, while they will ride 
quietly and safely at the anchor of Slavery. What they 
suppose to be the cause of the sad waste of natural wealth, what 
the necessity of the ignorance and poverty of the poor white 
people, what the reason that capital is not attracted by the 
superior soundness of their form of government and society, 
except it may be the stupidity of capitalists, I may very probably 
have failed to ascertain, because of the general disinclination 
they have to converse with a Northerner on this topic. The 
only distinct answer that I have received has been, that it is 
not Slavery, for nothing is more evident to them, although it 
may not be so to a stranger, than that Slavery is a blessing 
everywhere, and always (I quote, as far as convenient, the words 
that have been addressed to me) to the slave, in Christianizing 
and civilizing him ; to the master, in cultivating those habits of 
charitable feeling which the presence of the weak, the poor, and 
the dependent are always suggesting, and in cherishing in him 
that commanding elevation of character and administrative 
power which is claimed to have always distinguished the owners 
of slaves, and the value of which they deem to have always 
been apparent in our national statesmanship. An institution 
which they know has such good influences, and which is so 
favorable to political success, they cannot believe to be 
destructive to industrial energy and effective of commercial 
dependence. There is nothing essentially productive in com- 
petition ; on the contrary, it is evident that the work of many 
laborers must be more profitable when directed by one controlling 


mind, than when independent and uncombined ; therefore, say 
they, slave-labor must be cheaper than free-labor. In every 
way, they are convinced that Slavery is, or should be, and can 
be made, a great advantage and blessing to them, and, therefore, 
by God's grace, they are determined to maintain and defend it 
as their fathers did, and to bequeath it, as their fathers did 
to them, to their children, unimpaired and unmitigated, an 
inheritance forever. 

Having confidence myself that all the fatal dangers, appre- 
hended for Northern society, may be and will be anticipated and 
provided against by measures already under consideration ; and 
doubting if Slavery, while it prevents popular education, offers 
sufficient precaution against them, I think it is to be established 
convincingly, that Slavery alone is a sufficient cause, at this 
time, to account for any difference there may be between the 
value of property and all commercial and industrial prosperity, 
in Virginia and the neighboring free States. 


Several thousand slaves were hired in Eastern Virginia, during 
the time of my visit there. The wages paid for able working- 
men, sound, healthy, in good condition, and with no especial 
vices, from twenty to thirty years old, Avere from $110 to $140; 
the average, as nearly as I could ascertain, from very extended 
inquiry, being $120 per year, with board and lodging, and 
certain other expenses. These wages must represent exactly 
the cost of slave-labor, because any considerations which would 
prevent the owner of a slave disposing of his labor for those 
wages, when the labor for his own purposes would not be worth 
as much, are so many hindrances upon the free disposal of his 


property, and thereby deduct from its actual value, as measured 
with money. 

As the large majority of slaves are employed in agricultural 
labor, and many of those, hired at the prices I have mentioned, 
are taken directly from the labor of the farm, and are skilled in 
no other, these wages represent the cost of agricultural labor in 
Eastern Virginia. 

In New York, the usual wages for similar men, if Americans, 
white or black, are exactly the same in the money part ; for 
Irish or German laborers the most common wages are $10 per 
month, for summer, and $8 per month, for winter, or from $96 
to $120 a year, the average being about $108. 

The hirer has, in addition to paying wages for the slave, to 
feed and to clothe him ; the free laborer requires also to be 
boarded, but not to be clothed by his employer. The opinion is 
universal in Virginia that the slaves are better fed than the 
Northern laborers. This is, however, a mistake, and we must 
consider that the board of the Northern laborer would cost at 
least as much more as the additional cost of clothing to the 
slave. Comparing man with man, with reference simply to equali- 
ty of muscular power and endurance, I think, all these things 
considered, the wages for common laborers are twenty-five per 
cent, higher in Virginia than in New York. But let it be 
supposed they are equal. 


This, to the employer of free laborers, need be nothing. To 
the slave-master it is of varying consequence : sometimes small, 
often excessively embarrassing, and always a subject of anxiety 


and suspicion. I have never made the inquiry on any planta- 
tion where as many as twenty negroes were employed together, 
that I have not ascertained that one or more of the field-hands 
was not at work on account of some illness, strain, bruise or 
wound, of which he or she was complaining ; and in such cases 
I have hardly ever heard the proprietor or overseer fail to ex- 
press his suspicion that the invalid was really as well able to 
work as any one else on the plantation. It is said to be nearly 
as difficult to form a satisfactory diagnosis of negroes' disorders, 
as it is of infants', because their imagination of symptoms is so 
vivid, and because not the smallest reliance is to be placed on 
their accounts of what they have felt or done. If a man is 
really ill, he fears lest he should be thought to be simulating, 
and therefore exaggerates all his pains, and locates them 
in whatever he supposes to be the most vital parts of his 

Frequently the invalid slaves will neglect or refuse to 
use the remedies prescribed for their recovery. They will 
conceal pills, for instance, under their tongue, and declare 
they have swallowed them, when, from their producing 
no effect, it will be afterwards evident that they have 
not. This general custom I heard ascribed to habit, ac- 
quired when they were not very disagreeably ill, and were 
loth to be made quite well enough to have to go to work 

Amusing incidents, illustrating this difficulty, I have heard 
narrated, showing that the slave rather enjoys getting a severe 
wound that lays him up : — he has his hand crushed by the fall 
of a piece of timber, and after the pain is alleviated, is heard to 
exclaim, " Bress der Lord — der haan b'long to masser — don't 


. reckon dis chile got no more corn to hoe dis yaar, no 

Mr. H., of North Carolina, observed to me, in relation to 
this difficulty, that a man who had had much experience with 
negroes could generally tell, with a good deal of certainty, by 
their tongue, and their pulse, and their general aspect, whether 
they were really ill or not. 

''Last year," said he, "I hired out one of my negroes to a 
rail-road contractor. I suppose he found that he had to work 
harder than he would on the plantation, and became discon- 
tented, and one night he left the camp without asking leave. 
The next clay he stopped at a public-house, and told the people 
he had fallen sick working on the rail-road, and was going home 
to his master. They suspected he had run away, and, as he had 
no pass, they arrested him and sent him to the jail. In the 
night the sheriff sent me word that there was a boy, who said he 
belonged to me, in the jail, and he was very sick indeed, and I 
had better come and take care of him. I immediately suspected 
how it was, and, as I was particularly engaged, I did not go near 
him till towards night, the next day. When I came to look at 
him, and heard his story, I felt quite sure in my own mind that 
he .was not sick ; but, as he pretended to be suffering very much, I 
told the sheriff to give him plenty of salts and senna, and to be 

*It is, perhaps, well I should say that this soliloquy was repeated to me by a 
Virginia planter, as if it had occurred within hii own hearing. A similar illus- 
tration of the pleasure with which a slave finds himself exempted from labor, 
having been mentioned in the " Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin," the Eeverend E. 
J. Stearns, of St. John's College, Maryland, in a rejoinder to that work, thinks 
it unnecessary to deny the truth of it, but, with the usual happy keenness of 
clerical controversialists, settles the matter without being personally disre- 
spectful to Mrs. Stowe's authority, by quoting the final authority: — " ' No man 
ever hated his own flesh, but nourishc-th it, and cherisheth it ;' and again, ' So 
ought men to love tbeir wives as their own bodies.' " 


careful that he did not get much of anything to eat. The next 
day I got a letter from the contractor, telling me that my nigger 
had run away, -without any cause. So I rode over to the jail 
again, and told them to continue the same treatment until the 
boy got a good deal worse or a good deal better. Well, the 
rascal kept it up for a week, all the time groaning so you'd 
think he couldn't live many hours longer ; but, after he had 
been in seven clays, he all of a sudden said he'd got well, and he 
wanted something to eat. As soon as I heard of it, I sent them 
word to give him a good paddling,* and handcuff him, and send 
him back to the rail-road. I had to pay them for taking up a 
runaway, besides the sheriff's fees, and a week's board of the 
boy to the county." 

But the same gentleman admitted that he had sometimes been 
mistaken, and had made men go to work when they afterwards 
proved to be really ill ; therefore, when one of his people told 
him he was not able to work, he usually thought, " very likely 
he'll be all the better for a day's rest, whether he's really ill 
or not," and would let him off without being very particular 
in his examination. Lately he had been getting a new over- 
seer, and when he was engaging him, he told him that 
this was his way. The overseer replied, "It's my way, too, 
now ; it didn't use to be, but I had a lesson. There 

was a nigger one day at Mr. 's who was sulky, and 

complaining; he said he couldn't work. I looked at his tongue, 
and it was right clean, and I thought it was nothing but damned 
sulkiness so I paddled him, and made him go to work ; but, two 
days after, he was under ground. He was a good eight hundred 

* Not something to eat, but punishment with an instrument like a 
ferule. . . ... 


dollar nigger, and it was a lesson to me about taming possums, 
that I ain't agoing to forget in a hurry." 

The liability of women, especially, to disorders and irregulari- 
ties which cannot be detected by exterior symptoms, but which 
may be easily aggravated into serious complaints, renders many 
of them nearly valueless for work, because of the ease with 
which they can impose upon their owners. " The women on a 
plantation," said one extensive Virginian slave-owner to me, 
" will hardly earn their salt, after they come to the breeding age : 
they don't come to the field, and you go to the quarters and ask 
the old nurse what's the matter, and she says, 'Oh, she's not 
well, master; she's not fit to work, sir ;' and what can you do? 
You have to take her word for it that something or other is the 
matter with her, and you dare not set her to work ; and so she 
lay up till she feels like taking the air again, and plays the lady 
at your expense." 

I was on one plantation where a woman had been excused 
from any sort of labor for more than two years, on the supposi- 
tion that she was dying of phthisis. At last the overseer dis- 
covered that she was employed as a milliner and dress-maker by 
all the other colored ladies of the vicinity ; and upon taking her 
to the house, it was found that she had acquired a remarkable 
skill in these vocations. She was hired out the next year to a 
fashionable dress-maker in town, at handsome wages ; and as, after 
that, she did not again " raise blood," it was supposed that 
when she had done so before it had been by artificial means. 
Such tricks every army and navy surgeon is familiar with. 

The interruption and disarrangement of operations of labor, 
occasioned by slaves "running away," frequently causes great 
inconvenience and loss to those who employ them. It is said to 


often occur when no immediate motive can be guessed at for it — 
when the slave has been well-treated, well-fed, and not over- 
worked ; and when he will be sure to sutler hardship from it, and 
be subject to severe punishment on his return, or if he is caught. 

This is often mentioned to illustrate the ingratitude and espe- 
cial depravity of the African race. I should suspect it to be, if 
it cannot be otherwise accounted for, the natural instinct of free- 
dom in a man, working out capriciously, as the wild instincts of 
domesticated beasts and birds sometimes do. 

But the learned Dr. Cartwright, of the University of Louisi- 
ana, bflieves that slaves are subject to a peculiar form of mental 
disease, termed by him Drapetomania, which, like a malady that 
cats are liable to, manifests itself by an irrestrainable propensity 
to run away ; and in a work on the diseases of negroes, highly 
esteemed at the South for its patriotism and erudition, he advises 
planters of the proper preventive, and curative measures to be 
taken for it. 

He asserts that, " with the advantage of proper medical advice, 
strictly followed, this troublesome practice of running away, that 
many negroes have, can be almost entirely prevented." Its 
symptoms and the usual empirical practice on the plantations 
are described: "Before negroes run away, unless they are 
frightened or panic-struck, they become sulky and dissatisfied. 
The cause of this sulkiness and dissatisfaction should be inquired 
into and removed, or they are apt to run away or fall into the 
negro consumption." When sulky or dissatisfied without cause, 
the experience of those having most practice with drapetomania, 
the Doctor thinks, has been in favor of " whipping them out of 
it." It is vulgarly called, " whipping the devil out of them" he 
afterwards informs us. 


Another droll sort of " indisposition," thought to be peculiar to 
the slaves, and which must greatly affect their value, as compared 
with free laborers, is described by Dr. Cartwright, as follows : 

"Dysesthesia ethiopica, or Hebetude of Mind and Obtuse 
Sensibility of Body. * * * From tbe careless movements of the indi- 
viduals affected with this complaint, they are apt to do much mischief, 
which appears as if intentional, but is mostly owing to the stupidness 
of mind and insensibility of the nerves induced by the disease. 
Thus they break, waste, and destroy everything they handle — abuse 
horses and cattle — tear, burn, or rend their own clothing, and, paying 
no attention to the rights of property, steal others to replace what 
they have destroyed. They wander about at night, and keep in a 
half nodding state by day. They slight their work — cut up* corn, 
cane, cotton, and tobacco, when hoeing it, as if for pure mischief. 
They raise disturbances with their overseers, and among their fellow- 
servants, without cause or motive, and seem to be insensible to pain 
when subjected to punishment. * * * 

"When left to himself, the negro indulges in his natural disposition 
to idleness and sloth, and does not take exercise enough to expand 
his lungs and vitalize his blood, but dozes out a miserable existence 
in the midst of filth and uncleanliness, being too indolent, and having 
too little energy of mind, to provide for himself proper food and 
comfortable clothing and lodging. The consequence is, that the blood 
becomes so highly carbonized and deprived of oxygen that it not 
only becomes unfit to stimulate the brain to energy, but unfit to 
stimulate the nerves of sensation distributed to the body. * * * 

" This is the disease called Dysesthesia (a Greek term expressing tbe dull 
or obtuse sensation that always attends the complaint). When roused 
from sloth by the stimulus of hunger, he takes anything he can lay his 
hands on, and tramples on the rights as well as on the property of others, 
with perfect indifference. When driven to labor by the compulsive 
power of the white man, he performs the task assigned to him in a 
headlong, careless manner, treading down with his feet or cutting with 
his hoe the plants he is put to cultivate — breaking the tools he works 
with, and spoiling everything he touches that can be injured by careless 
handling. Hence the overseers call it ' rascality,' supposing that the 
mischief is intentionally done. * * * 

" The term, ' rascality,' given to this disease by overseers, is founded 


on an erroneous hypothesis, and leads to an incorrect empirical treat- 
ment, which seldom or never cures it." 

There are many complaints described in Dr. Cartwright's 
treatise, to which the negroes, in Slavery, seem to be peculiarly 

" More fatal than any other is congestion of the lungs, peripneumonia 
notha, often called cold plague, etc. * * * 

" The Frambcesia, Piam, or Yaws, is a contagious disease, communi- 
cable by contact among those who greatly neglect cleanliness. It is 
supposed to be communicable, in a modified form, to the white race, 
among whom it resembles pseudo syphilis, or some disease of the 
nose, throat, or larynx. * * * > 

" Negro-consumption, a disease almost unknown to medical men of 
the Northern States and of Europe, is also sometimes fearfully preva- 
lent among the slaves. ' It is of importance,' says the Doctor, ' to know 
the pathognomic signs in its early stages, not only in regard to its 
treatment, but to detect impositions, as negroes, afflicted with this 
complaint are often for sale ; the acceleration of the pulse, on exercise, 
incapacitates them for labor, as they quickly give out, and have to leave 
their work. This induces their owners to sell them, although they may not 
know the cause of their inability to labor. Many of the negroes brought 
South, for sale, are in the incipient stages of this disease ; they are 
found to be inefficient laborers, and are sold in consequence thereof. 
The effect of superstition — a firm belief that he is poisoned or conjured 
— upon the patient's mind, already in a morbid state (dyossthesia) , and 
his health affected from hard usage, over-tasking or exposure, want of 
wholesome food, good clothing, warm, comfortable lodging, with the 
distressing idea (sometimes) that he is an object of hatred or dislike, 
both to his master or fellow-servants, and has no one to befriend him, 
tends directly to generate that erythism of mind which is the essential 
cause of negro-consumption.' * * * < Kemedies should be assisted 
by removing the original cause of the dissatisfaction or trouble of mind, 
and by using every means to make the patient comfortable, satisfied and 
happy.' " 

Longing for home generates a distinct malady, known to 
physicians as Nostalgia, and there is an analogy between the 


treatment commonly employed to cure it and that recommended 
in this last advice of Dr. Cartwright, which is very suggestive. 


Under the slave system of labor, discipline must always be 
maintained by physical power. A lady of New York, spending 
a winter in a Southern city, had a hired slave-servant, Avho, one 
day, refused outright to perform some ordinary light domestic 
duty required of her. On the lady's gently remonstrating with 
her, she immediately replied : " You can't make me do it, and 1 
won't do it : I aint afeard of you whippin' me." The servant 
was right; the lady could not whip her, and was too tender- 
hearted to call in a man, or to send her to the guard-house to 
. be whipped, as is the custom with Southern ladies, when their 
patience is exhausted, under such circumstances. She en- 
deavored, by kindness and by appeals to the girl's good sense, 
to obtain a moral control over her ; but, after suffering continual 
annoyance and inconvenience, and after an intense trial of her 
feelings, for some time, she was at length obliged to go to her 
owner, and beg him to come and take her away from the house, 
on any terms. It was no better than haying a lunatic or a 
mischievous and pilfering monomaniac quartered upon her.'* 

But often when courage and physical power, with the strength 
of the militia force and the army of the United States, if 
required, at the back of the master, are not wanting, there are 
a great variety of circumstances that make a resort to punish- 
ment inconvenient, if not impossible. 

* The Richmond American has a letter from Ealeigh, N. C, dated Sept. 18 
which says : " On yesterday morning, a beautiful young lady, Miss Virginia 
Frost, daughter of Austin Frost, an engineer on the Petersburg and Weldon 
Rail-road, and residing in this city, was shot by a negro girl, and killed instantly. 
Cause — reproving her for insolent language." 


Keally well-trained, accomplished, and docile house-servants 
are seldom to be purchased or hired at the South, though they 
are found in old wealthy families rather oftener than first-rate 
English or French servants are at the North. It is, doubtless, a 
convenience to have even moderately good servants who cannot, at 
any time of their improved value or your necessity, demand to 
have their pay increased, or who cannot be drawn away from 
you by prospect of smaller demands and kinder treatment at 
your neighbor's ; but I believe few of those who are incessantly 
murmuring against this healthy operation of God's good law of 
supply and demand would be willing to purchase exemption from 
it, at the price .with which the masters and mistresses of the 
South do. They would pay, to get a certain amount of work 
done, three or four times as much, to the owner of the best sort 
of hired slaves, as they do to the commonest, stupidest Irish 
domestic drudges at the North, though the nominal wages by the 
week or year, in Virginia, are but little more than in New York. 

The number of servants usually found in a Southern family, 
of any pretension, always amazes a Northern lady. In one that 
I visited, there were exactly three negroes to each white, and 
this in a town, the negroes being employed solely in the house. 

A Southern lady, of an old and wealthy family, who had been 
for some time visiting a friend of mine in New York, said to her, 
as she was preparing to return home : " I can not tell you how 
much, after being in your house so long, I dread to go home, 
and to have to take care of our servants again. We have a much 
smaller family of whites than you, but we have twelve servants, 
and your two accomplish a great deal more, and do their work a 
great deal better than our twelve. You think your girls are 
very stupid, and that they give you much trouble : but it is as 


nothing. There is hardly one of our servants that can be 
trusted to do the simplest work without being stood over. If I 
order a room to be cleaned, or a fire to be made in a distant 
chamber, I never can be sure I am obeyed unless I go there and 
see for myself. If I send a girl out to get anything I want for 
preparing the dinner, she is as likely as not to forget what is 
wanted, and not to come back till after the time at which dinner 
should be ready. A hand-organ in the street will draw all my 
girls out of the house ; and while it remains near us I have no 
more command over them than over so many monkeys. The 
parade of a military company has sometimes entirely prevented 
me from having any dinner cooked ; and when the servants, 
standing in the square looking at the soldiers, see my husband 
coming after them, they only laugh, and run away to the other 
side, like playful children.* And, when I reprimand them, they 
only say they don't mean to do anything wrong, or they wont 
do it again, all the time laughing as though it was all a joke. 
They don't mind it at all. They are just as playful and careless 
as any willful child ; and they never will do any work ii you 
don't compel them." 

The slave employer, if he finds he has been so unfortunate as 
to hire a sulky servant, that cannot be made to work to his 
advantage, has no remedy but to solicit from his owner a deduc- 
tion from the price he has agreed to pay for his labor, on the 
same ground that one would from a livery-stable keeper, if he had 
engaged a horse to go a journey, but found that he was not 

* In the city of Columbia, S. C, the police are required to prevent the negroes 
from running in this way after the military. Any negro neglecting to leave 
the vicinity of a parade, when ordered by a policeman or any military officer, 
is required, by the ordinance, to be whipped at the guard-bouse. 


strong or skillful enough to keep him upon the road. But, if tha 
slave is the property of his employer, and becomes " rascally," 
the usual remedy is that which the veterinary surgeon recom- 
mended "when he was called upon for advice how to cure a balky 
horse : " Sell him, my lord." " Eascals " are " sent South " 
from Virginia, for the cure or alleviation of their complaint, in 
much greater numbers than consumptives are from the more 
Northern States. 

" How do you manage, then, when a man misbehaves, or is 
sick 1" I have been often asked by Southerners, in discussing this 

If he is sick, I simply charge against him every half day of 
the time he is off work, and deduct it from his wages. If he is 
careless, or refuses to do what in reason I demand of him, I dis- 
charge him, paying him wages to the time he leaves. With new 
men in whom I have not confidence, I make a written agreement, 
before witnesses, on engaging them, that will permit me to do 
this. As for "rascality," I never had but one case of anything 
approaching to what you call so. A man insolently contradicted 
me in the field : I told him to leave his job and go to the house, 
took hold and finished it myself, then went to the house, made 
out a written statement of account, counted out the balance in 
money due him, gave him the statement and the money, and told 
him he must go. He knew that he had failed of his duty, and 
that the lav/ would sustain me, and we parted in a friendly man- 
ner, he expressing regret that his temper had driven him from a 
situation which had been agreeable and satisfactory to him. The 
probability is, that this single experience educated him so far 
that his next employer would have no occasion to complain of 
his "rascality;" and I very much doubt if any amount of 


corporeal punishment would have improved his temper in the 

That slaves have tb be " humored " a great deal, and that they 
very frequently can not be made to do their master's will, I have 
seen much evidence. Not that they often directly refuse to obey 
an order, but, when they are directed to do anything for which 
they have a disinclination, they undertake it in such a way that 
the desired result is sure not to be accomplished. In small par- 
ticulars for which a laborer's discretion must be trusted to in 
every-day work, but more especially when emergencies require 
some extraordinary duties to be performed, they are much less 
reliable than the ordinary run of laborers employed on our farms 
in New York. They can not be driven by fear of punishment to 
do that which the laborers in free communities do cheerfully from 
their sense of duty, self-respect, or regard for their reputation 
and standing with their employer. A gentleman who had some 
free men in his employment in Virginia, that he had procured 
in New York, tbld me that he had been astonished, when a dam 
that he had been building began to give way in a freshet, to see 
how much more readily than negroes they would obey his orders, 
and do their best without orders, running into the water waist 
deep, in mid-winter, without any hesitation or grumbling. 

The manager of a large candle-factory in London, in which 
the laborers are treated with an unusual degree of confidence and 
generosity, writes thus in a report to his directors : 

"The present year promises to be a very good one as regards 
profit, in consequence of the enormous increase in the demand for 
candles. No mere driving of the men and boys, by ourselves and 
those in authority under us, would have produced the sudden and 
very great increase of manufacture, necessary for keeping pace with 
this demand. It has been effected only by the hearty good- will with 


which the factory has ■worked, the men and boys making the great 
extra exertion, which they saw to be necessary to prevent our getting 
hopelessly in arrears with the orders, as heartily as if the question 
had been, how to avert some difficulty threatening themselves per- 
sonally. One of the foremen remarked with truth, a few days back : 
'To look on them, one would think each was engaged in a little 
business of his own, so as to have only himself affected by the re- 
sults of his work.' " 

A farmer in Lincolnshire, England, told me that once, during 
an extraordinary harvest, season, he had had a number of labor- 
ers at work without leaving the field or taking any repose for 
sixty hours — he himself working with them, and eating and 
drinking only with them during all the time. Such services men 
may give voluntarily, from their own regard to the value of 
property to be saved by it, or for the purpose of establishing 
their credit as worth good wages ; but to require it of slaves 
would be intensely cruel, if not actually impossible. A man can 
work excessively on his own impulse as much easier than he can 
be driven to by another, as ahorse travels easier in going towards 
his accustomed stable than in going from it. I mean — and every 
man who has ever served as a sailor or a soldier will know that 
it is no imaginary effect — that the actual fatigue, the waste of 
bodily energy, the expenditure of the physical capacity, is greater 
in one case than the other. 

Sailors and soldiers both, are led by certain inducements to 
place themselves within certain limits, and for a certain time, 
both defined by contract, in a condition resembling, in many 
particulars, that of slaves ; and, although they are bound by 
their voluntary contract and by legal and moral considerations to 
obey orders, the fact that force is also used to secure their 
obedience to their officers, scarcely ever fails to produce in them 


the identical vices which are complained of in slaves. They obey 
the letter, but defeat the intention of orders that do not please 
them, they are improvident, wasteful, reckless : they sham ill- 
ness, and as Dr. Cartwright gives specific medical appellations to 
discontent, laziness, and rascality, so among sailors and soldiers, 
when men suddenly find themselves ill and unable to do their 
duty in times of peculiar danger, or when unusual labor is 
required, they are humorously said to be -suffering under an 
attack of the powder-fever, the cape-fever, the ice-fever, the 
coast-fever, or the reefing-fever. The counteracting influences 
to these vices, which it is the first effort of every good officer to 
foster, are, first, regard to duty ; second, patriotism ; third, 
esprit du corps, or professional pride; fourth, self-respect, or 
personal pride; fifth, self-interest, hope of promotion, or of 
bounty, or of privileges in mitigation of their hard service, as 
reward for excellence. Things are never quickly done at sea, 
unless they are done with a will, or " cheerly," as the sailor's 
word is — that is, cheerfully. An army is never effective in the 
field when depressed in its morale. 

None of these promptings to excellence can be operative, 
except in a very low degree, to counteract the indolent and 
vicious tendencies of the Slavery, much more pure than the 
slavery of the army or the ship, by which the exertions of the 
Virginia laborer are obtained for his employer. 

It is very common, among the Virginians, to think that the 
relation of free-laborers to their employers is, by the effect of 
circumstances, rendered very little less slavish than that of their 
own slaves to them. It is true that in many respects the 
position of agricultural laborers, in some parts of England and 
other countries (where the land is owned and rented only in 


excessively large quantities, and the principle of competition 
has, therefore, very little influence to counteract the power of 
the capitalists to prevent a man's getting his living by labor, 
except on their conditions), approaches, in the degree of their 
moral subjection, to that of slaves. 

But this is true only in a very few districts, nowhere in the 
United States, unless it be in the Slave States, where sometimes 
similar causes produce somewhat similar effects upon the poor 
whites. And, everywhere, the services rendered by the free- 
laborers are rendered not from fear of punishment, are claimed 
not by right of force, but are rendered in obedience to, and 
claimed by express right of, a contract voluntarily made : conse- 
quently, compared with that of the slave, their labor is actively, 
cheerfully, and discreetly given. Circumstances may have made 
it necessary for the laborer to accept the terms offered by the 
employer ; but those circumstances no more constitute slavery 
than do the circumstances, which induce merchants and manufac- 
turers in towns to pay what they deem extravagant prices for 
flour, render them the slaves of the farmers, who say to them, 
" Pay these prices, or go without." 

It is a very low mind that cannot appreciate the difference 
between services rendered from such motives and under such 
obligations, honorable, manly, and just obligations, voluntarily 
entered into, and the services of a slave, rendered from fear that 
he shall be whipped if he does not render them. 

The employer of a free-laborer no more dare whip him than 
the laborer dare whip the employer. Their rights are equal, in 
all respects, before the law, and the claim of the laborer to his 
stipulated wages, his tacitly stipulated diet and lodging, is just 

as good, and renders him just as truly the owner of his employer, 


as the claim of the employer upon the free-laborer for his 
stipulated measure, by days or months, of muscular labor, and 
his tacitly stipulated exercise of skill and discretion, render him 
the owner of his employe. The man who would work cheer- 
fully and to the best of his discretion, for tbe employer, in one 
case is a fool ; the man who would not work cheerfully and to 
the best of his discretion, for his employer, in the other is dis- 
honest and imprudent. 

The following is from the organ of the New York city 
Know Nothings, of Feb. 21, 1855: "If to rise with the lark 
and labor the live-long day, saddled with care, loaded down 
with anxiety, until we sink under the burden, is freedom, then 
we are not slaves. If to do half this work, without any of 
its cares, or troubles, with the full quota of pleasure, is the 
want of it, then who would be free?" 

Such a view of life is not only disgraceful to a man, but 
the prevalence of such ideas, however patriotic may be the 
foundation on which they have been cultivated, is most per- 
nicious to the character of our own laboring-class, and to 
all industry into which competition can enter. There are some 
badly-educated American women who choose to die as seam- 
stresses, rather than to live as cooks or chamber-maids, because 
they are taught by such writers that the position of a servant, 
or of those who sell their labor and skill by measure of time 
and not by measure of amount, is worse than that of slaves. 
Even prostitution is felt to be less a disgrace than this false 
parallel to Slavery, and so, unconsciously deluded by this false 
analogy, they answer this writer's question, actually preferring 
death to this imaginary degradation. 

"It is with dogs," says the best authority on the subject, "as 


it is with horses ; no work is so well done as that which is done 
cheerfully."* And it is with men, both black and white, as it 
is with horses and with dogs ; it is even more so, because the 
strength and cunning of a man is less adapted to being " broken" 
to the will of another than that of either dogs or horses. 

The writer, whose opinion, that Slavery is a better system for 
the laborer than the system of Northern States, I have just 
quoted, estimates that the labor of a slave is only half that, in 
a day, of a man actuated by anxiety for his own advantage 
at his work. If it were not that Slavery, present at the South 
and past in our own land and the lands where most of our 
laborers have been educated, had an influence still to make labor 
a less respected commodity than most others in our market, 
in consequence of which the mutual obligations of capitalist 
and laborer are sometimes less definitely felt than they should 
be, I think no one would be surprised to learn that this estimate 
of the difference in the amount of work accomplished in a day, 
by voluntary laborers and slave laborers, was not in the slightest 
degree extravagantly expressed. But upon this point I shall 
now give some exact information. 


Mr. T. R. G-riscoin, of Petersburg, Virginia, stated to me, that 
he once took accurate account of the labor expended in harvest- 
ing a large field of wheat ; and the result was that one quarter 
of an acre a day was secured for each able hand engaged in 
cradling, raking, and binding. The crop was light, yielding not 
over six bushels to the acre^ In New York a gang of fair 

* Lieut. Col. W. N. Hutchinson, on Dog Breaking. 


cradlers and binders would be expected, under ordinary circum- 
stances, to secure a crop of wheat, yielding from twenty to thirty 
bushels to the acre, at the rate of about two acres a day for 
each man. 

Mr. Griscom formerly resided in New Jersey ; and since living 
in Virginia has had the superintendence of very large agricul- 
tural operations, conducted with slave-labor. After I had, in a 
letter, intended for publication, made use of this testimony, I 
called upon him to ask if he would object to my giving his name 
with it. He was so good as to permit me to do so, and said 
that I might add that the ordinary waste in harvesting wheat in 
Virginia, through the carelessness of the negroes, beyond that 
which occurs in the hands of ordinary Northern laborers, is equal 
in value to what a Northern farmer would often consider a satis- 
factory profit on his crop. He also wished me to say that it 
was his deliberate opinion, formed not without much and accu- 
rate observation, that four Virginia slaves do not, when engaged 
in ordinary agricultural operations, accomplish as much, on an 
average, as one ordinary free farm laborer in New Jersey. 

Mr. Griscom is well known at Petersburg as a man remark- 
able for reliability, accuracy, and preciseness ; and no man's 
judgment on this subject could be entitled to more respect. 

Another man, who had superintended labor of the same cha- 
racter at the North and in Virginia, whom I questioned closely, 
agreed entirely with Mr. Griscom, believing that four negroes 
had to be supported on every farm in the State to accomplish 
the same work which was ordinarily done by one free laborer in 
New York. 

A clergyman from Connecticut, who had resided for many 
years in Virginia, told me that what a slave expected to spend a 


day upon, a Northern laborer would, he was confident, usually 
accomplish by eleven o'clock in the morning'. 

In a letter on this subject, most of the facts given in which have 
been already narrated in this volume, written from Virginia to the 
New York Daily Times, I expressed the conviction that, at the 
most, not more than one-half as much labor was ordinarily ac- 
complished in Virginia by a certain number of slaves, in a given 
time, as by an equal number of free laborers in New York. The 
publication of this letter induced a number of persons to make 
public the conclusions of their own experience or observations on 
this subject. So far as I know, these, in every case, sustained 
my conclusions, or, if any doubt was expressed, it was that I had 
under-estimated the superior economy of free-labor. As afford- 
ing evidence more valuable than my own on this important 
point, from the better opportunities of forming sound judgment, 
which a residence at different times, in both Virginia and a free 
State had given the writers, I have reprinted, in an appendix, 
two of these letters, together with a quantity of other testimony 
from Southern witnesses on this subject, which I beg the reader, 
who has any doubt of the correctness of my information, not to 


On mentioning to a gentleman in Virginia, who believed 
that slave-labor was better and cheaper than free-labor, Mr. 
Griscom's observation, he replied: that without doubting the 
correctness of the statement of that particular instance, he 
was sure that if four men did not harvest more than an 
acre of wheat a day, they could not have been well driven. 
He knew that, if properly driven, threatened with punish- 


merit, and punished if necessary, negroes would do as much 
work as it was possible for any white man to do. The same 
gentleman, however, at another time, told me that negroes 
were very seldom punished, not oftener, he presumed, than 
apprentices were, at the North ; that the driving of them was 
generally left to overseers, who were the laziest and most 
worthless dogs in the world, frequently not demanding higher 
wages for their services than one of the negroes, they were 
given to manage, might he hired out for. Another gentle- 
man told me that he would rather, if the law would permit 
it, have some of his negroes for overseers, than any white 
man he had ever been able to obtain in that capacity. 

Another planter, whom I requested to examine a letter 
on the subject, that I bad prepared for the Daily Times, that 
he might, if he could, refute my calculations, or give me 
any facts of an opposite character, after reading it said: 
" The truth is, that in general, a slave does not do half the 
work he easily might ; and which, by being harsh enough 
with him, he can be made to do. When I came into pos- 
session of my plantation, I soon found the overseer then 
upon it was good for nothing, and told him I had no 
further occasion for his services : I then went to driving the 
negroes myself. In the morning, when I went out, one of 
them came up to me and asked what work he should go 
about. I told him to go into the swamp and cut some 
wood. 'Well, massa,' said he,. ' s'pose you wants me to do 
kordins we's been use to doin' ; ebery niggar cut a ,cord a 
day.' 'A cord! that's what you have been used to doing, 
is it V said I. ' Yes, massa, dat's wot dey always makes a 
niggar do roun' heah — a cord a day, dat's allers de task.' 


' Well, now, old man,'* said I, ' you go and cut me two cords 
to-day.' 'Oh, massa! two cords! Nobody couldn do dat. 
Oh! massa, clat's too hard ! Nebber heard o' nobody's cuttin' 
more 'n a cord o' wood in a day, roun' heah. ISTo nigger couldn' 
do it.' ' Well, old man, you have two cords of wood cnt 
to-night, or to-morrow morning you shall get two hundred 
lashes — that's all there is about it. So, look sharp!' And 
he did it, and ever since no negro has ever cut less than two 
cords a day for me, though my neighbors never get but one cord. 
It was just so with a great many other things — mauling rails 
— I always have two hundred rails mauled in a day ; just 
twice what it is the custom of the country to expect of a 
negro, and just twice as many as my negroes had been made 
to do before I managed them myself. 

This only makes it more probable that the amount of labor 
ordinarily and generally performed by slaves in Virginia is very 
small, compared with that done by the laborers of the free States, 
and confirms the correctness of the estimates that I have given. 

These estimates, let it be recollected, in conclusion, are all 
deliberately and carefully made by gentlemen of liberal education, 
who have had unusual facilities of observing both at the North 
and at the South — gentlemen who own or employ slaves them- 
selves, and who sustain Southern designs on the political ques- 
tions connected with slavery. I have not given them because 
they were extreme, but because I could obtain no others equally 
exact. The conclusion to which they directly point is, that the 

* " Old Man," is a common title of address to any middle-aged negro in 
Virginia, whose name is not known. " Boy" and " Old Man" may be applied 
to the same person. Of course, in this case, the slave is not to be supposed to 
bo beyond his prime of strength. 


cost of any certain amount of labor, by measure, of tasks and 
not of time, is between three and four hundred per cent, higher in 
Virginia than in the free States. To this is to be added the cost 
of clothing the slaves, of the time they lose in sickness, or 
otherwise, and of all they pilfer, damage, and destroy through 
carelessness, improvidence, recklessness, and "rascality." 

Labor is the creator of wealth. There can be no honest 
wealth, no true prosperity without it ; and in exact proportion to 
the economy of labor is the cost of production and the accumu- 
lation of profit upon the capital used in its employment. 

Let any one allow as much as he can, in view of the testimony, 
for exaggeration in these estimates, and reduce them accord- 
ingly. It seems to me hardly possible that he should be able 
still to doubt, that in the additional cost of labor alone, a 
grand, if not all-sufficient cause may be found for the acknow- 
ledged slow progress and the poverty of Virginia, compared 
with the free States. 


Considering that the wages of a week's labor would pay for 
the transportation of a laborer from the free States to a communi- 
ty where slave-labor predominates, it might, at the first thought 
upon the matter, appear impossible that there could be, for any 
length of time, any essential difference in the cost of labor be- 
tween the two districts. The law of supply and demand is not, 
indeed, inoperative against slavery ; it is a constant counteract- 
ing influence to its evils, and, if it were not for the internal slave- 
trade, which makes slaves valuable property, otherwise than for 
labor, it would probably, before this, unless the competition of 


free -labor had been excluded by know-nothing measures, have 
forced the adoption of some method of relieving the State of its 
heavy burden; but this great first law of Commerce acts very 

The laborer who, in New York, gave a certain amount of labor 
for his wages in a day, soon finds, in Virginia, that the ordinary 
measure of labor is smaller than in New York : a " day's work " 
or a month's does not mean the same that it did in New York. 
He naturally adapts his wares to the market. Just as in New 
York a knavish custom having been sometime ago established, of . 
selling a measure of three quarters of a bushel of certain articles 
under the name of a bushel, no man now finds it to his advan- 
tage to offer them by the full bushel, at a correspondingly higher 
price. Though every one cries out against the custom, and de- 
mands a bushel for a bushel, few are willing to pay proportionately 
for it ; few are willing to sell it without being paid more than pro- 
portionately on account of their deviation from custom ; and the 
custom must be reformed very slowly. So the laborer, finding that 
the capitalists of Virginia are accustomed to pay for a poor arti- 
cle at a high price, prefers to furnish them the poor article at 
their usual price, rather than a better article, unless at a more 
than correspondingly better price. 

But there are other laws, also, that come in play in this case, 
to qualify the action of the laws of demand and supply. 

"Man is a social animal." The largest part of the labor 
required in Virginia is, and long has been, performed by negroes. 
The negroes are a degraded people ; degraded not merely by po- 
sition, but actually immoral, low-lived ; without healthy ambition ; 
but little influenced by high moral considerations, and, in regard 
to labor, not all affected by regard for duty. This is universally 


recognized, and debasing fear, not cheering hope, is in general 
allowed to be their only stimulant to exertion. A capitalist was 
having a building erected in Petersburg, and his slaves were em- 
ployed in carrying up the brick and mortar for the masons on 
their heads ; a Northern man, standing near, remarked to him 
that they moved so indolently it seemed as if they were trying to 
see how long they could be in mounting the ladder without actu- 
ally stopping. The builder started to reprove them, but after 
moving a step turned back and said: "It would only make them 
move more slowly still when I am not looking at them, if I 
should hurry them now. And what motive have they to do bet- 
ter ?- It's no concern of theirs how long the masons wait. I 
am sure, if I was in their place, I shouldn't move as fast as 
they do." 

Now, let the white laborer come here from the North or from 
Europe — his nature demands a social life — shall he associate 
with the poor, slavish, degraded, low-lived, despised, unambitious 
negro, with whom labor and punishment are almost synony- 
mous ? or shall he be the friend and companion of the Avhite man, 
in whose mind labor is habitually associated with no ideas of 
duty, responsibility, comfort, luxury, cultivation, or elevation 
and expansion either of mind or estate, as it is where the ordi- 
nary laborer is a free man — free to use his labor as a means of 
obtaining all these and all else that is to be respected, honored 
or envied in the world % 

Associating with either or both, is it not inevitable that he 
will be rapidly demoralized — that he will soon learn to hate 
labor, give as little of it for his hire as he can, become base, cow- 
ardly, faithless — " worse than a nigger " % 

Such, I am sure, is the fact, with regard to the majority of 


laborers who have come here, and I cannot doubt that such is 
the cause. And, when we reflect how little the great body of 
our working-men are consciously much affected by moral con- 
siderations, in their movements, one is tempted to suspect that 
the Almighty has endowed the great transatlantic migration with 
a new instinct, by which it is unconsciously repelled from the 
demoralizing and debilitating influence of slavery, as migrating 
birds have sometimes been thought to be from pestilential regions. 
I know not else how to account for the remarkable indisposi- 
tion to be sent to Virginia, which I have seen manifested by 
poor Irishmen and Germans, who could have known, I think, no 
more of the evils of slavery to the whites, in the Slave States, 
than the slaves themselves know of the effect of conscription in 
France, and who certainly could have been ' governed by no 
considerations of self-respect. This experience I have had, in 
consequence of having been requested by several persons, in- 
Virginia, to send them white laborers. I can understand better 
what induced two men of the same sort, who had previously 
lived a short time on farms in the Free State, to return north, 
after completing a short engagement to work upon a slave 
plantation, though they had obtained high wages, and were well 
treated by their employer, and could give no better reason to 
me, for their course, than that they " didn't like to work with 
them niggers." 

That the native white population is thoroughly demoralized, 
in respect to those qualities essential to a good laborer, and that 
this demoralization is the direct result of slavery, I have given 
some evidence, which I received from a slave-holder, in one of 
my earlier letters (p. 82) ; but "I will add the recorded testimony 
of others. 


From the Patent Office Report, for 1847. 

" As to the price of labor, our mechanics charge from one to two 
dollars a day. As to agricultural labor, we have none. Our poor are 
poor because they will not work, therefore are seldom employed. 

" Chas. Yancey, 
" Buckingham Co., Virginia." 

The sentence, "as to agricultural labor, we have none," must 
mean no free-labor : the number of slaves in this county being, 
according to the census, 8,161, or nearly 3,000 more than the 
whole white population! There are, also, 250 free negroes m 
the county. 

From a Correspondent of the American Agriculturist, Feb. 14, 1855. 

" As to laborers, we work, chiefly, slaves, not because they are 
cheaper, but rather, because they are the only reliable labor we can get. 
The whites here engage to work for less price than the blacks can be got 
for ; yet, they will not work well, and rarely work out the time specified. 
If any of your friends come here, and wish to work whites, I would 
advise them, by all means, to bring them with them ; for, our white 
laborers are far inferior to our blacks, and our black labor is far 
inferior to what we read and hear of your laborers. 

" C. G. G., 
" Albemarle Co., Virginia." 

In Albemarle, there are over thirteen thousand slaves, to less 
than twelve thousand whites. 

In the northwestern counties, Cabell, Mason, Brooke, and Tyler, 
in or adjoining which there are no large towns, but a free laboring 
population, with slaves in ratio to the freemen, as one to fifteen, 
only, the value of land is over seven dollars and three quarters 
an acre. 

In Southampton, Surrey, James-Town, and New-Kent, in 
which the slave population is as 1 to 2*2, the value of land is 
but little more than half as much — §4 50 an acre . 


In Surrey, Prince George, Charles City, and James, adjoining 
counties on James Kiver, and originally having some of the 
most productive soil in the State, and now supplied with the 
public conveniences which have accrued in two hundred years of 
occupation, by a civilized and Christian community, the num- 
ber of slaves being, at present, to that of whites, as 1 to 1*9, 
the value of land is but $6 an acre. 

In Fairfax, another of the first-settled counties, and one in 
which, twenty years ago, land was even less in value than in the 
James River counties, it is now worth twice as much. The slave 
population, once greater than that of whites, has been reduced, 
by emigration and sale, till there are now less than half as many 
slaves as whites. In the place of slaves, has come another sort 
of people. The change which has taken place, and the cause 
of it, is thus simply described in tbe Agricultural Eeport of the 
County to the Commissioner of Patents. (See Patent Office 
Report, 1852.) 

" la appearance, the county is so changed, in many parts, that a 
traveler, who passed over it ten years ago, would not now recognize it. 
Thousands and thousands of acres had been cultivated in tobacco, by 
the former proprietors, would not pay the cost, and were abandoned as 
worthless, and became covered with a wilderness of pines. These lands 
have been purchased by northern emigrants ; the large tracts divided 
and subdivided, and cleared of pines ; and neat farm-houses and barns, 
with smiling fields of grain and grass, in the season, salute the delighted 
gaze of the beholder. Ten years ago, it was a mooted question, whether 
Fairfax lands could be made productive ; and, if so, would they pay 
the cost ? This problem has been satisfactorily solved by many, and, 
in consequence of the above altered state of things, school-houses and 
churches have doubled in number." 

There is much more evidence in my hands, but I think I may, 
as the lawyers say, rest on this. I see not how any one can 


still doubt that Slavery is the present cause of the comparative 
adversity or poverty of Virginia, or that Freedom would be 
found an immediate, certain, and, to all but the few slave- 
holders (they are not, I suppose, one to a hundred of the people), 
entirely satisfactory remedy. 

But I cannot pass from Virginia without considering her 
condition from another and broader point of view. 

It is very customary to speak of our Confederacy of States as 
The Great Experiment. The great experiment of what? Of 
the effect, I suppose is meant, of a form of government in which 
all men are declared to be equal ; in which there are no privi- 
leged orders ; no ruling class ; in which the laboring class is 
dignified by being made, equally with the capitalist and the 
professional scholar, the recipient of governmental power. 

Yet, the United States, in the aggregate, cannot rightly be 
considered as more than approximating such an experiment. It 
affords, however, thirty distinct experiments in governmental 
and social science, which might be studied and examined, one 
comparatively with another, most usefully. And I am con- 
vinced that the average progress in happiness and wealth, which 
has been made by the people of each State, is in almost exact 
ratio to the degree in which the democratic principle has been 
radically carried out in their constitution, laws, and customs. 

In studying the question of the causes of the poverty of Vir- 
ginia, I have been obliged to - examine the past as well as the 
present character of her labor, and I have been astonished to 
see the important bearing which certain facts in her history 
have upon the great problem of statesmanship. 

Men of literary taste or clerical habits are always apt to 
overlook the working-classes, and to <xmfine the records they 


make of their own times, in a great degree, to the habits and 
fortunes of their own associates, or to those of people of 
superior rank to themselves, of whose sayings and doings their 
vanity, as well as their curiosity, leads them to most carefully 
inform themselves. The dumb masses have often been so lost 
in this shadow of egotism, that, in later days, it has been im- 
possible to discern the very real influence their character and 
condition has had on the fortune and fate of nations. 

Of the laborers in the colony of Virginia, although, after a 
self-sustaining community had been once firmly established, 
they undoubtedly formed a very large majority of all the people, 
very little notice is ever taken by any chronicler or historian, 
further than in simple memoranda of their arrival by the cargo 
or hundred. Information with regard to them is only to be 
obtained by a labored investigation of evidence incidentally 

As very little of the knowledge thus attainable has been made 
readily accessible to the mass of the reading public, or to those 
who might most profit by it, I have thought it best to offer 
here a somewhat desultory review of the more significant facts 
relative to the industrial develonment of Virginia. 




In the shipping-lists and other records of the first settlement 
of Virginia, a large proportion of the colonists are carefully 
designated "gentlemen." The circumstance, that the clergy- 
man and surgeon-general have the honor to be mentioned in this 
company, but the untitled physician and surgeon are reckoned 
among the common people, will indicate pretty clearly the 
meaning of the distinction. 

In the first ship, there are- fifty "gentlemen," with one hair- 
dresser, one tailor, one drummer, one mason, one blacksmith, 
four carpenters, and but eight professed laborers. 

Speaking of the immigrants by the first three ships, Captain 
John Smith, in his autobiography, says there were not two 
dozen that had ever done a real day's work in their lives, before 
they left England. Of these, eight were Dutchmen and Poles. 
The rest of the nominal laborers had previously been gentlemen's 
lackeys and house-servants, or were bankrupt tradesmen and 
desperate loafers. " Ten good workmen would have done more 
substantial work than ten (of the best of them) in a week." 

To keep them all from perishing, Smith was obliged to drive 
them to work almost at the sword's point ; and when he had 


the whole responsibility of government to occupy his mind, and 
its various duties of superintendence to take up his time, he 
himself did more hard and irksome manual labor, with his own 
hands, than any other man in the colony. 

Smith, of course, was unpopular, was conspired against, and 
denounced as a shrewd, ambitious, self-seeking demagogue. His 
enemies never dared try to tar and feather him ; but they finally 
obtained his dismissal from the governorship. No sooner, how- 
ever, did he leave the miserable rabble of snobs and flunkies to 
take care of themselves, than their absolute helplessness was 
made manifest. Presently they were reduced to such extremi- 
ty as is described in the following passage from the " Observa- 
tions of William Symmons, Doctor of Divinitie." 

" — So great was our Famine, that a Saluage we slew, and buried, 
the poorer Sort tooke him up againe and eat him and so did diuers 
others one another, boyled and stewed with Roots and Herbs ! And 
one amongst the rest did kill his Wife, powdered her, and had eaten 
part of her before it was knowne, for which he was executed as he 
well deserued ; now whether she was better roasted, boyled or car- 
bonado'd, I know not, but of such a Dish as powdered Wife I neuer 
heard of. This was that Time which still to this Day we call the 
staruing Time ; it were too vile to say ^nd scarce to be belieued, what 
we endured : but the Occasion was our owne, for want of Prouidence, 
Industrie, and Gouernment, and not the barrennesse and defects of 
the Country, as is generally supposed." 

At length, in a fit of desperation, the surviving adventurers 
packed what provisions their recklessness had not yet destroyed, 
in boats, abandoned their enterprise, and actually embarked with 
the intention of coasting to the northward until they should fall 
in with the honest laboring fishermen on the banks of Newfound- 
land, of whom they could ask charity. Before they got out of 

the river, however, they were met by Sir Thomas Dale, just 


arriving from England, with a Governor's commission. He 

obliged them to return, and, after a short experience of their 

laziness and imprudence, proclaimed martial law, ordered them 

all, gentle and simple, to work in gangs under overseers, and 

threatened to shoot the first man who refused to labor, or was 

disobedient.* Yet but six hours' work was all that it was 

deemed prudent or necessary to require. Smith says that one 

day's labor of each man was amply sufficient to provide him with 

food for a week ; but most of the Colonists would actually starve 

rather than do this much. 

William Box Avrites home an account of the dreadful amount 

of hard work that it is necessary to have done, but is careful to 

add — 

" Neuerthelefs it must not be concciued that this Businefs of 
planting a Colony excludes Gentlemen whose Breeding never knew 
what a Day's Labor was, for though they can not dig, use the 
Spade or practise the Ax, there is abundant Occasion for such to 
imploy the force of Knowledge, the Excuse of Counsel, the Operation 
and Power of their best Breeding and Qualities." 

Smith, however, wrote to the Treasurer in London — 

" When you send again I entreat you send rather but Thirty Car- 
penters, Husbandmen, Gardeners, Fishermen, Blacksmiths, Masons, 
and Diggers Up of Trees' Roots, well prouided, than a Thousand of 
such as we have, for except we be able to both lodge and feed 
them, the most will consume for want of Necefsaries before they can 
be made good for any thing." 

* One reads, not without admiration of the candor of the writer, the following 
observation of Mr. Howison : " If it be admitted that the Southern States of the 
American Union have acted wisely in enacting, for the slaves unhappily exist- 
ing within their borders, laws different from those applied to the whites, then we 
presume that none who approve this distinction can object to the principle upon 
which the martial law of Sir Thomas Dale was introduced." — Dale found it 
necessary to apply to the Cavaliers the same motive to labor which their de- 
scendants now consider only requisite for the African race. Is it blood or edu- 
cation that is the essential evil ? 


He says elsewhere — 

" They desired but to pack over so many as they could, saying 
Necefsity would make them get Victuals for themselves, as for good 
laborers they were more usefull here in England ; but. they found it 
otherwayes, the Charge was all one to send a Workman as a Roarer, 
whose Clamors to appease we had much adoe to get Fish and Come to 
maintaine them from one Supply till another came, with more Loy- 
terers without Victuals still, to make us worse and worse : for the 
most of them would rather starve than worke." 

The Colony still languishing, though things much improved 
under Sir Thomas Dale, in 1618 the company petitioned the Crown 
to make them a present of "vagabonds and condemned men," to 
be sent out as slaves ; and the King, thankful, probably, to get 
rid of the burden of taking care of these men, who had been too 
lazy heretofore to take care of themselves in any other way than 
by pilfering and knavery, was graciously pleased to grant their 
request. The following year a hundred head of this valuable 
stock was driven out of Bridewell and other London knave-pens, 
on board ship, and exported to Virginia. 

The next year, twenty head of black men, direct from Africa, 
were landed from a Dutch ship, in James Eiver, and were imme- 
diately bought by the gentlemen of the Colony. 

These were the first negro slaves in the country at present 
included in the United States. The same year the first cheer- 
ful labor by the voluntary immigrants to New England, by 
the May-Flower, was applied to the sterile soil of Massachusetts 

Notwithstanding the gentlemen of Virginia were thus relieved 
from the necessity of personal labor, the Colony continued to 
demand from England such large supplies of provisions, and 
other stores, which it seemed well fitted to produce within itself, 
that the King ordered a commission to ascertain what was th* 


secret ot its remarkable adversity and continued helplessness and 

An examination of the chartered Companies' books showed 
that more than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars had been 
then already sunk in the endeavor to establish and sustain the 

Smith was examined at length.* Being asked what charge he 
thought, at the time he left, would have defrayed the necessary 
expenses of establishing the Colony on a safe footing, he 
answered, that twenty thousand pounds, if it could have been 
expended in wages to good laborers and mechanics, would have 
been amply sufficient, and added that one hundred good hired 
hands would have been worth more then a thousand of such as 
had been sent out, and that though Lord Delaware, Sir 
Thomas Dale, and Sir Thomas Gates, who had been Governors 
in Virginia since he was there, had been previously persuaded 
otherwise, they had now come to be of his mind about it. 

In reply to the inquiry, what he thought were the defects of 
the government, he said it was generally complained that the 
supplies intended for the benefit of the Colony at large, were 
appropriated by a few individuals to their private advantage, and 
that even the laborers sent out to ivork for the Company were sold to 
the highest bidders among the private adventurers. God forbid, 
he continued, that those Avho transport these servants thither, 
and provide them with necessaries, should not be repaid, or that 

* Smith had once been a slave himself, and had been driven to agricultural 
labor by his Tartar master, exactly as the African slaves now are in America. 
He knew very well, therefore, the different value of a slave, obliged to work 
for another's benefit, and a free man, working for himself. It is a curious 
thing, also, that finally he killed his owner, and fled to the North. See his Life, 
by himself. 


masters should not there have the same privileges over their 
servants that they had in England ; but it was an odious thing, 
and a source of corresponding evil, that when the cost of their 
shipment was not more than eight, or at the most, ten pounds 
each, they should be sold, as they were, to the planters, from 
the ships, at forty, fifty, and threescore pounds, and this without 
any stipulation as to how they should he treated or maintained. He 
would have these merchants made such merchandise of them- 
selves, rather than suffer such a bad trade to continue longer, for 
it was enough to bring a well-settled commonwealth to misery, 
much more such a one as Virginia. 

It was not discontinued until the revolution of 1776. 

According to a letter of John Eolfe's, in 1619, there had been 
many complaints that the Governors, Captains and officers 
bought and sold men and boys, or set them over, from one to 
another, for a yearly rent ; also that tenants and servants were 
frequently misused, and covenants were not kept with them, and 
the Council in England, in order to amend these abuses, ordered 
-that a hundred men should be provided at the Company's 
charge, to serve and attend the Governor ; fifty, the Deputy 
Governor; fifty, the Treasurer, and smaller numbers for the 
other officers, and likewise to each officer a competency sufficient 
to enable him to live well in his office, without resorting to 
those scandalous means. These servants they were required to 
deliver up in good order to their successors ; but complaint is 
afterwards made that they generally failed to do so, and that 
many of them were sold to the planters, and the proceeds 
pocketed by the chivalrous cavaliers. 

Being next asked how he would remedy the evils under which 
the Colony suffered, Smith recommended, first, that the officers 


should be held to a more strict accountability for the funds placed 
in their hands ; second, that less should be expended from the 
common stock in maintainiag the officers' and deputies' servants, 
and thirdly, that sufficient workmen, and means to maintain 
them, should be provided, and that the practice of sending out 
delinquents who could not be ruled by the laws of England 
should be stopped forthwith. To improve a commonwealth 
with debauched people, he maintained, was out of the question ; 
no wise man would choose to seek his fortune in such company. 
There was more ado, he repeated, in conclusion, about the 
administration of their paltry government, than was necessary 
for that of the kingdoms of Ireland and Scotland ; the number of 
officers in Virginia, with their attendants, ivas greater than that of 
all the workers. 

The report of the investigating commission was never made 
public, but it resulted in an abrogation of the charter of the 
Company, and a bar upon their property, if not a formal confis- 
cation of it, which has never been defended on any other 
grounds than such as are held to justify the forcible suppression 
of a public nuisance. The chief cause of the failure of the 
Colony had evidently been the indolence and imbecility of the 
people ; nevertheless, the practice of sending out malefactors was 
not discontinued, nor were any pains taken to encourage the 
emigration of industrious poor men, eager to improve their 

The king, however, had the sense to make the gentlemen of the 
Colony dependent neither on wages, nor partnership in profits, 

* In 1614, shortly after Lord Delaware's return from Virginia, being in the 
House of Commons on the reception of a petition from Virginia, he made the 
capital observation : " All Virginia requires is but a few honest laborers, bur- 
dened with children." 


but wholly on their own individual good management. Patents 
of land, to any extent, were given to all applicants, except 
nonconformists, on the payment of a quit-rent to the crown, 
of two "shillings an acre. This led to a large immigration of 
speculators, who immediately commenced planting tobacco, with 
all the laborers, of any sort, that they could command. 

Four years later, Smith says, the Colony has increased 
wonderfully beyond expectation, and that tobacco is raised 
in such excessive quantities, that the market is already quite 
overstocked with it. He looks for a good effect to follow — 
that the small profit of raising tobacco "will cause the peo- 
ple to come together to work upon soap-ashes, iron, rape-oil, 
madder, pitch and tar, flax and hemp." We shall see that even 
he had not sufficiently appreciated the irreparable mischief which 
the degradation of labor must entail upon a community. - 

The more the people of the Colony increase in numbers, the 
more distinctly do they continue to be classed under the two 
grand divisions — gentlemen and laborers. Under the head of 
gentlemen are to be included the colonial officers, the clergy, 
and the large land-proprietors, sometimes still styled adventurers 
(a term equivalent to speculators,) but generally called planters. 
Lawyers and physicians are seldom mentioned. The laborers 
are sub-divided, under the tbree heads of heathen slaves, con- 
vict slaves or servants, and bond-servants : no doubt there were 
some freemen laboring for wages also, and a few mechanics and 
others, living by job-work, but there is never any mention of 


Christian slaves, or servants, were criminals and state-prisoners, 
who were often given as property, by the English kings, to those 


they wished to reward among their courtiers and favorite officers, 
and by them sold to the colonists. The majority of them were 
not resolute ruffians, but idle and dissolute fellows, vagrants, and 
pickpockets. I have found no clear indication of their number, 
but, even before the confiscation of the Company's charter, it 
had been so great, and had occasioned Virginia so bad a 
reputation, that Smith wrote : " Some did choose to be hanged 
ere they would go thither, and were." 

Shortly before the Eevolution, the usual annual importation 
of felons into the adjoining smaller province of Maryland was 
three hundred and fifty in number ; that to Virginia was probably 

" The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the celebrated Moll Flan- 
ders, who was born in Newgate," a novel, by De Foe, written in 
1683, first published in London, 1722, gives much evidence of 
the notorious character of the Virginia emigration, some of 
which I subjoin, in extracts. 

" She often told me how the greateft part of the Inhabitants of that 
Colony came thither in very indifferent Circumftances from England; 
that, generally fpeaking, they were of two Sorts ; either, firft, fuch as 
were brought over by Mailers of Ships, to be fold as Servants ; or, 
fecond, fuch as are tranfported, after having been found guilty of 
Crimes punifhable with Death." 

— " Depend upon it," fays fhe, " there are more Thieves and 
Rogues made by that one Prifon of Newgate, than by all the Clubs 
and Societies of Villains in the Nation. ' 'Tis that curfed Place,' 
fays my Mother, ' that half peoples this Colony,' (Virginia). 

" ' Hence, Child,' fays fhe, ' many a Newgate-Bird becomes a 
great Man, and we have,' continued fhe, ' feveral Juftices of the 
Peace, Officers of the trained Bands, and Magiftrates of the Towns 
they live in, that have been burned in the Hand.' " 

— " That he had fome intimation, that if he would fubmit to tranf- 
port himfelf, he might be admitted to it without a Trial, but that he 
could not think of it with any Temper, and thought he could much 
eafier fubmit to be hanged." 

* Grahairie. 


Transportation to Virginia was the choice, as appears by the 
context, and thus Smith's amusing assertion is confirmed. 

" Some of them [convict pafsengers to Virginia^ had neither Shirt 
nor Shift, Linen or Woolen, but what was on their Backs." 

— " The Mortification of being brought on board, like a Prifoner, 
piqued him very much, fince it was firft told him that he fhould tranf- 
port himfelf, fo that he might go as a Gentleman at Liberty. It is 
true he was not ordered to be fold when he came there." 

— "Ordered to be transported (to Virginia) in refpite from the 

A Virginia Gentleman. — The Cafe was plain, he was born a 
Gentleman, and was not only unacquainted, but indolent, and when 
we did fettle, would rather go into the Woods with his Gun — which 
they call, there, Hunting — than attend the natural Bufinefs of the 

The greater energy and industry of his wife, who had been 

a prostitute and a convict, only made him content to remain in 


— " An Englifh Woman- fervant and a Negro Man-fervant, things 
abfolutely necefsary for all People that pretended to fettle in that 

It was not criminals alone that were sent into this bondage, 
but captives of war, of all nations, and State prisoners, victims 
of the Star Chamber and of the Ecclesiastical Courts ; persons 
suspected of traitorous designs upon the monarchy, and infidels 
to the Court theology; all were herded together with petty 
pilferers, convicted murderers, and heathen blackamoors, and 
driven by overseers to work in the tobacco fields of their cavalier 

Charles II. ordered a shipment of Quakers to Virginia, where 

they were sold as slaves, for dissenting from his true church. 

Their non-resistance principles must have added much to 

their value. The common rascals, though always money's 

worth, were usually considered extra-hazardous. In 1720. 


Beverly says : " as for malefactors condemned to transportation, 
though the greedy planter will always buy them, yet, it is to be 
feared they will be very injurious to tbe country, which has 
always suffered many murthers arid robberies." 

Medical science had not then been pushed to that profundity 
of analysis, which now distinguishes it, at the South ; but, in 
the unprofessional records of the times, the distinguishing symp- 
toms may be clearly recognized, of both drapetomania and 
dysesthesia, and it is clear, I think, that these maladies prevailed 
among this class of laborers, to an exceedingly interesting extent. 
Drapetomania would, indeed, seem, though Professor Cartwright 
does not mention it, to have then been more prevalent among 
the whites than the negroes. Dr. Little, in his History of 
Kichmond, has not failed to notice this singular pathological 
fact. He says that, in the earliest colonial newspapers, " Bun- 
away servants are advertised ; generally white men, convicts sold 
for their crimes ; the nation, as well as the description of the 
person is given, and sometimes the manner of carrying himself, 
when in liquor. We find Englishmen, Irish, Welsh, and Scotch, 
all in print, as runaway convict slaves.'" 

Owing, probably, to the neglect of sufficient quarantine pre- 
cautions, Dysmthesia Ethiopica must have been introduced by the 
African traders, at an early period ; and its contagion was not 
confined to the Ethiopian stock, but, perhaps, from their then 
more close association in the labors of the plantation, it too 
frequently, also, attacked the white slaves. A case is mentioned 
by Beverly, where violent remedies were obliged to be used, to 
check it. 

" The rigorous circumfcription of their Trade, the Perfecution 
of the Sectaries, and the little Demand for Tobacco, had like to 


have had very fatal Confequences. For the poor People (chiefly 
Servants who had ferved out their Bond, probably,) becoming 
thereby very uneaiie, their Murmerings were watch' d and fed, 
by feveral mutinous and rebellious Oliverian Soldiers, fent thither 
as Servants. Thefe depending upon the difcontented People of all 
Sorts, formed a villainous Plot to deitroy their Mailers, and after- 
wards to fet up for themfelves. This Plot was brought fo near 
to Perfection, that it was the very Night before the defigncd 
Execution, e'er it was difcover'd ; and then it came out by the 
relenting of one of their Accomplices, whofe name was Birken- 
head. This Man was Servant to Mr. Smith of Purton, in Glou- 
cester County, near which Place, viz., at Poplar Spring, the 
Mifcreants were to meet the Night following, and put in Execution 
their horrid Confpiracy." * * "Four of thefe Rogues were hanged; 
but Birkenhead was gratified with his Freedom, and a Reward of 
Two Hundred Pounds Sterling. For the Discovery and happy 
DiiTapointment of this Plot, an anniverfary Thankfgiving v/as ap- 
pointed on the 13 th of September, the Day it was to have been put 
in Execution. And it is great Pity fome other Days are not com- 
memorated as well as that." 


The term servant was, I believe, always applied, in the provin- 
cial days of Virginia, to white men and women, who were bound 
to service for a limited time, and the term slaves, to those held 
for life. Well-bred people now designate their slaves, both field 
hands and house servants, by that title. I presume the fashion 
of doing so arose after the Kevolution, and was due to the same 
feeling which prevented the word slave from being permitted in 
the Constitution of the United States. 

Poor people of all sorts, in England, Avere induced, by well- 
worked puffs of the delightful climate, and abundant, spontaneous 
productions of Virginia, to indenture themselves as servants for 
terms of years, for the sake of being transported thither. There 
was a profession of men, called Spirits, who made it their business 
to cajole weak young men and women, in this way, and then send 


them to the colony, and sell them to the planters, as servants or 
lahorers. They were in such demand, that they were often 
disposed of on hoard ship, to the highest bidders, at profits of 
thirty or forty pounds to the spirited speculators. 

The following advertisement is taken from the Virginia Ga- 
zette, March 3d, 1768 : 

JUST arrived, the Neptune, Captain Arbuckle, with one hundred 
and ten healthy Servants, Men, Women and Boys, among Whom 
are many valuable tradesmen, viz. : Tailors, Weavers, Barbers, 
Blackfmiths, Carpenters and Joiners, Shoemakers, a Stay Maker, 
Cooper, Cabinet Maker, Bakers, Silverfmiths, a Gold and Silver 
Refiner, and many others. 

The Sale v/ill commence at Leedftown, on the Rappahannoc, on 
Wednefday, the 9th of this inftant (March). A reafonable Credit will 
be allowed on giving approved Security to 


These servants stood in the relation of debtors to their 
masters, bound to discharge the cost of their immigration 
"by the entire employment of their powers to the benefit 
of their creditors." f It was illegal for any man to deal 
with them, except their masters. Having no property of 
their own, by the penal laws, they were to be whipped 
at the rate of one stroke for each sixty cents of the fines im- 
posed in like cases on freemen. Masters were forbidden to 
whip their servants naked, nor were they given permission 
to kill them, under any circumstances, but they were allowed 
by law to dismember irreclaimable runaways, if they thought 
best.J Any resistance or offer of violence, on the part of a 
servant to his master, subjected him to one year's additional 
servitude, and maid-servants, having illegitimate children, also 

* Howison. t Bancroft. X Hildreth. 


forfeited to their masters one year's additional service ; if, how- 
ever, their master was the father, it was to be paid to the 
church-wardens. By a subsequent law, any unmarried white 
woman having a child, was to be fined fifteen pounds, or to 
be sold for five years ; if she was already a servant, the time 
to commence at the end of the service for which she was bound : 
the child was to be bound out till thirty years of age. 

The white servants, at an early period, were reported to be 
treated with great cruelty, and to be employed at unusual 
labors. Beverly denies that it was so in his time (1720). 
Probably, from the danger, which cruel treatment occasioned, 
of their revolt, as well as . from the check which the reports of 
it produced upon the importation of servants, laws were passed 
to prevent cruelty, and to insure that wholesome diet and 
clothing should be provided for them. 

"If a Mafter fhould be fo cruel as to ufe his Servant ill, who is fain 
fick, or lame in his Service and thereby rendered unfit for Labour, he 
muft be removed by the Church Wardens out of the Way of fuch Cru- 
elty." "All Servants whatever, have their Complaints heard, without 
Fee or Reward ; but if the Mafter be found faulty, the Charge of the 
Complaint is caft upon him, otherwife the bufinefs is done ex Officio." 
Mafters " are always to appear on the firft Complaint of their 
Servants, otherwife to forfeit the Service of them until they do 
appear." "All Servants' Complaints are to be received at any Time 
in Court without Procefs, and fhall not be delayed for want of Form; 
but the Merits of the fame fhall be immediately inquired into by the 

None of these laws applied to negro slaves (or to any 
born out of Christendom) ; nor has there been any equally 
humane legislation in their behalf to this day. Whenever 
there shall be a sincere and earnest desire on the part of 

* Beverly. 


the controlling power of any slave State to legislate on 
Slavery for the negro's sake, the Virginia enactments of two 
centuries ago, with regard to the protection of white bond- 
servants, will serve as a model. 

"An inexperienced examiner," says Mr. Howison, "of the 
present time, in reading the criminal code of Virginia as to 
slaves, would declare that it was stained with blood ; and in 
truth it is appalling to note the number and the character 
of the offenses for which death is denounced against them. 
But it affords the purest consolation to reflect that these 
laws seldom operate in practice. The executive is clothed 
with the merciful power of selling slaves condemned to die, 
and transporting them beyond the limits of the State. The 
owner then receives value; but if the slave so transported 
returns, he is liable to execution, without reprieve, and the 
owner loses his value." Either these laws are barbarous or 
the transportation is unjust and unmerciful to those living 
out of the State. How would Virginia act, if Pennsylvania 
should pass a law, permitting the governor to set all crimi- 
nals, deserving death, over the border, with a threat to kill 
them if they were ever seen within her limits again? 

When the time for which these servants were covenanted to 
labor had expired, they, of course, were entitled to be at 
liberty. It was not customary to pay them anything as 
wages ; but the law required that they should always be pro- 
vided with two suits of clothes, ten bushels of corn, and a 
gun of twenty shillings value, when at length they became 
self-dependent. They could be made freemen of the province 
on application to the Governor, and after certain formalities. 
Chiefly recruited, originally, among the most miserable rabble 


of London, educated to agricultural labor as the yoke-mates 
of slaves and criminals, and then suddenly turned adrift with 
a Brumagem fire-lock and ten bushels of maize, to shift for 
themselves, their social elevation was not likely to be very 
rapid. Eegard to family descent is a notoriously weak point 
among the wealthy people of Virginia, even at this clay, 
"Poverty and the want of education on the part of the mass 
of the freedmen," says Hildreth, "kept them, too often, in a 
subservient position, and created in the Middle as well as the 
Southern Colonies an inferior order of poor whites, a dis- 
tinction of classes and an inequality almost unknown in repub- 
lican New England." 


It was early enacted that all persons brought into the Colony, ' 
who had not been Christians in their own country, and even 
though they afterwards were converted, should be made and 
held slaves for life. One of the avowed objects of the Virginia 
speculation being to convert the native savages, a provision of 
the royal charter inculcated kindness to the Indians, and forbade 
their being made slaves. This was afterwards disregarded, and 
multitudes of them were brought into subjection, and held as 
slaves for life, on the ground that they were prisoners of war, 
and rightful subjects of oppression, in the name of Christ. 

In 1662, forty-two years after the first importation of negroes, 
there being already many mulatto children, the paternity of 
which it would be disagreeable to inquire about, owing to the 
laws against libertinism, it was enacted, in direct contradiction 
to the supreme English law, that the children of slaves should 
follow the condition of the mother, and not ever of the father. 


This law, which has been maintained to the present time, of 
course offers a direct encouragement to the most mischievous 
licentiousness. In the French, Dutch, Danish, German, Spanishj 
and Portuguese colonies, the white fathers of colored children 
have always been accustomed to educate and emancipate them, 
and endow them with property. In Virginia, and the English 
colonies generally, the white fathers of mulatto children have 
always been accustomed to use them in a way that most com- 
pletely destroys the oft complacently-asserted claim, that the 
Anglo-Saxon race is possessed of deeper natural affection than 
the more demonstrative sort of mankind. 

In 1669, that the cupidity of planters might not prevent them 
from permitting the christening of their slaves' children, from 
a doubt of their right to hold Christians in slavery, it was 
formally enacted that the Christian offspring of all slaves might 
be used as property, by the owners of the mothers of it. 

Both these laws being, as is evident from repeated decisions 
of English Courts, "unconstitutional" or enacted in defiance of 
the common and fundamental law, at the time they were passed, 
no person can be legally defined a slave, in Virginia, except by 
his heathenism or infidelity, to this day. The law made no 
account of color, but only of creed, in distinguishing a man 
entitled to freedom from a man subject to be enslaved. The 
slavery of negroes, in Virginia, at this time, rests only on 

Laws were afterwards passed, at various times, to discourage 
the emancipation of slaves by grateful or conscientious owners, 
and free negro-women were taxed in distinction from white. 

* In England, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, Slavery ceased by decisions 
based on the Common Law, not by special legislative acts of abolition. 


Slaves were, by special exception, denied trial by jury. When 
charged with a capital crime, a special commission was appointed 
to judge them, and, if they were condemned to death, their 
owners were remunerated for their loss from the public treasury. 

In 1692, an act was passed for suppressing " outlying slaves." 
After setting forth that negroes, mulattoes, and other slaves, oft- 
times absent themselves from their masters, and lurk in obscure 
places, killing hogs, and committing other injuries to the planta- 
tions, it authorizes forces to be raised by the sheriffs, for hunting 
them, which, if they run away or resist being taken, may kill 
them with guns, or in " any other way whatsoever." For each 
slave so destroyed, the owner was entitled to obtain from the 
public treasury four thousand pounds of tobacco. In 1701, a 
proclamation was recorded, offering a reward of two thousand 
pounds of tobacco to whoever shall kill a certain runaway- 
slave Billy. 

Planters, by special enactment, were not to be judged guilty 
of felony if they killed their own slaves.* 

In 1687, when there was an insurrection of the slaves, the 
whole number of them in the colony fell little short of one third 
the whole number of inhabitants.! In 1724, the importation 
of Africans amounted to one thousand annually.^ At the 

* Cotemporaneously with these laws, it is not surprising to find that all persons 
who doubt the authority of the Bible, or who question the dogma of the Trinity, 
of whatever race or nation, are ineligible to office, and are subject to imprison- 
ment for three years if they express their opinions ; that Quakers are denied 
admission to the country, and, if they persist in coming, are ordered to be 
treated as felons; that strict measures are taken to prevent " the infection of 
Puritanism" from reaching the people, and to secure the formal observance of 
public worship ; that fines, of from one to fifty pounds of tobacco, are laid on 
non-attendance at church on Sunday, Sunday traveling, profane swearing, 
"profanely getting drunk," etc. 

t Burke. % Hildreth. 


Eevolution, Jefferson estimated the number of slaves in the 
State to be 270,000 ; that of whites, of all classes, 296,000. 
The number of the slaves in the Eastern counties was so great 
as to occasion continual uneasiness. 


No one can fail to notice that, among all three of these 
varieties of laborers provided to the land-proprietors of Virginia, 
there could have been but very few accustomed to steady labor, 
before their arrival there. None of them, while they remained 
servants, had any direct interest in the result of their labors ; 
there was nothing, in the nature of the relation between them and 
their masters, to make them interested in their master's wealth or 
welfare : between the large majority of them and their masters, 
there must have been the reverse of confidence and gratitude. 
They were worked, white and black slaves, criminal and bonded 
servants, all ganged together, under overseers whose own habits 
of labor had been formed in Virginia : whether they accomplished 
much or little, whether they labored skillfully or awkwardly, 
carefully or carelessly, it was all the same, so they but managed 
to escape chastisement. 


The proprietary planters, who always were the commanding 
body in the province, received their character from certain 
emigrating offshoots of aristocratic English families. They 
endeavored to sustain, so far as it was possible in the wilderness, 
the manners, morals, politics, forms of religion, and other habits 
and fashions of the gentry and court of Charles the First. On 
this account, and because of their brave adherence to the king's 


party against the people's parliament, they are called Cavaliers. 
They did not leave their English homes from a desire of greater 
freedom, politically or morally, for they all belonged to the domi- 
nant party and the oppressing church. Pure agriculture prom- 
ised but little profit in the province, and the market was always 
glutted with its sole exporting staple : trade they held in 
contempt. Their chief motive in coming to America seems 
to have been the hope to obtain the position, assume the 
airs, and enjoy the' consequence in the New World which it 
was impossible for any but born noblemen and great land 
lords to possess in the old. The anxiety of each to be 
master of his own people, upon his own estate, over which and 
over whom he could exercise the authority and support an imi- 
tation of the habits of a lord, induced them first to plant them- 
selves at unsafe distances from each other, upon large properties 
of wild land, of no value except speculatively, and thus frequent- 
ly to endanger the destruction of the colony by the Indians, and 
always to confine its industry to the bare support of its popula- 
tion and the profitless production of one poor herb. 

Even before the seizure of the country by the king, and the 
general granting of patents to individuals, some of these gentle- 
men, ambitious to be lords of land, had obtained grants by 
special arrangement with the charter holders. One of these, 
Captain Newport, who brought with him fifty servants and ten- 
ants, over whom he exercised a magistrate's authority, built a 
fortress for the defense of his settlement, and being a man of 
bravery, good judgment, and benevolent disposition, was an 
extremely valuable acquisition to the country. But the others 
were of different character, and added to the disorder of the 
Colony. " Among the rest," says Beverly, " one Captain Mar- 


tin, having made considerable preparations towards a settlement, 
obtained a suitable grant of land, and was made of the council 
there. But he, grasping still at more, hanker' d after dominion, 
as well as possession, and caused so many differences, that at 
last he put all things in distraction," etc. 

In a letter of John Eolfe to the king, 1617, he says of the 
Virginia gentlemen : " All would be Keisars (kings), none inferior 
to the others." 

Beverly again (writing about eighty years after the country 
was thrown open to private adventurers, and having still the 
advantage of personal intercourse with the gentry who were thus 
attracted to the country, himself a Virginian), speaks thus of the 
effect of the measure : 

" This Liberty of taking up Land, and the ambition every 
Man had of being Lord of a vast, tho' unimprov'd Territory, * * 
* * has made the country fall into such an unhappy Settlement 
and Course of Trade, that to this Day, there is not one place of 
Cohabitation among them, that may reasonably bear the name 
of a Town." 


The light, rich mould, resting on the sandy soils of Eastern 
Virginia, was exactly suited to the cultivation of tobacco, and 
no better climate for this plant was to be found on the globe. 
This bad just been sufficiently proved, and a suitable method of 
culture learned experimentally, when the land was offered to 
individual proprietors by the king. Very little else was to be 
obtained from the soil which would be of value to send to Eu- 
rope, without an application to it of a higher degree of art than 
the slaves, or stupid, careless servants of the proprietors could 


readily be forced to use. Although tobacco had then been intro- 
duced into England but a few years, an enormous number of 
persons had initiated themselves in the appreciation of its myste- 
rious value. The king, having taken a violent prejudice against 
it, though he saw no harm in the distillation of grain, had for- 
bidden that it should be cultivated in England. Virginia, there- 
fore, had every advantage to supply the demand. 

Merchants and the supercargoes of ships, arriving with slaves 
from Africa, or manufactured goods, spirits, or other luxuries 
from England, very gladly bartered them with the planters for 
tobacco, but for nothing else. Tobacco, therefore, stood for 
money, and the passion for raising it, to the exclusion of every- 
thing else, became a mania, like the " California fever " of 1849. 

The culture being once established, there were many reasons 
growing out of the social structure of the colony which, for 
more than a century, kept the industry of the Virginians con- 
fined to this one staple. These reasons were chiefly the 
difficulty of breaking the slaves, or training the bond-servants 
to new methods of labor, the want of enterprise or ingenuity 
in the proprietors to contrive other profitable occupations for 
them, and the difficulty or expense of distributing the guard 
or oversight, without which it was impossible to get any work 
done at all, if the laborers were separated, or worked in any 
other way than side by side, in gangs, as in the tobacco-fields. 
Owing to these causes, the planters kept On raising tobacco 
with hardly sufficient intermission to provide themselves with 
the grossest animal sustenance, though often, by reason of 
the excessive quantity raised, scarcely anything could be got 
for it. 

Tobacco is not now considered peculiarly and excessively 


exhaustive : in a judicious rotation, especially as a preparation for 
wheat, it is an admirable fallow-crop, and, under a scientific system 
of agriculture, it is grown' with no continued detriment to the soil. 
But in Virginia it was grown without interruption or alternation, 
and the fields rapidly deteriorated in fertility. As they did so^ 
the crops grew smaller, in proportion to the labor expended 
upon them. Yet, from the continual importation of laborers, 
the total crops of the colony increased annually, and the market 
value fell proportionately to the better supply. With smaller 
return for labor, and lower prices, the planters soon found them- 
selves becoming bankrupts instead of nabobs. 

How could they help themselves ? Only by forcing the 
merchants to pay them higher prices. But how to do that, when 
every planter had his crop pledged in advance, and was obliged 
to hurry it off at any price, he could get for it, in order to pay 
for his food, and drink, and clothing, and to keep his head 
above water, at credit for the following year %* The crop sup- 
plied more tobacco than was needed, but no one man would 
cease to plant it, or lessen his crop for the general good. Then, 
it was agreed, all men must be made to do so, and the colonial 
legislature was called upon to make them. Acts were accord- 
ingly passed, to prevent any planter from cultivating more than 
a certain number of plants to each hand he employed in labor, 
and prescribing the number of leaves which might be per- 
mitted to ripen upon each plant permitted to be grown. An 
inspection of all tobacco, after it had been prepared for 

* " The merchants will trust them with tools and necessaries upon the credit of 
their crop, before it is grown. So they again plant every year a little more 
than the year before, and so buy everything they want, with the crop that is 
before them." — Moll Flanders, 1683. 


market, was decreed, and the inspectors were bound by 
oath, after having rejected all of inferior quality, to divide 
the good into two equal parts, and then to burn and destroy 
one of them. Thus, it was expected the quantity of tobacco 
offered for sale would be so small, that merchants would be 
glad to pay better prices for it, and the planters would 
be relieved of their embarrassment. 

Simpler methods were sometimes employed, however. It 
was once ordered, that all creditors should be satisfied to 
take forty pounds for every hundred due them from the 
people of the province, at the time of the passage of the 
act, and that no man should be legally held to perform 
above one half of any covenants about freighting tobacco, 
into which he had previously had the good fortune to enter. 
It is quite probable that, at this time, higher-law opinions 
began to prevail among the creditors of the Virginia plant- 

Attempts, even, were several times made, to stop the culture 
of tobacco altogether for a year, by legislative acts, with the 
intention of forcing the merchants to buy what was on hand, 
at higher prices, and with the hope that the people, if they 
were forbidden to spend their labor upon it, would direct it 
to some other industry. These schemes were always given 
up when it was found that the adjoining colonies were pre- 
paring to take advantage of them, by planting more exten- 
sively than usual. 

Similar schemes have been proposed in good faith, and 
deliberately advocated before Southern Conventions, and in 
Southern, newspapers, to remedy a similar evil, with which, 
in our own day, cotton-planters have afflicted themselves. 



If the fathers of Virginia had had the courage and manli- 
ness to enact for every person in their land, whose incom- 
petency to exercise his natural rights should not have been 
specially, individually, and legally ascertained and declared, 
an equality of position before the law, and in the control of 
their government; if they had taken care that all children, of 
ordinary capacity, should be made by education intellectually 
competent to exercise their natural rights and perform their 
natural duties to society and to their posterity ; if they had 
placed a reasonable limit upon the area of land which any 
one individual might control, to the exclusion of others from 
cultivating it ; and if they had established that neither tobacco 
nor any other crop might be twice drawn in successive years, 
from the same soil, it may be thought that they would still 
have been exceeding the proper limits of governmental action 
— a point upon which it is natural their descendants should 
be nervously apprehensive ; but, had they done so, there can 
be no doubt, I think, that the people, who would have occu- 
pied the territory of Virginia at this day, would have been 
in a far happier condition than those who now remain upon 
it; and I, myself, verily believe that Virginia would now 
have been even the richest, the best populated, and the hap- 
piest commonwealth in America. 

But, for our benefit, they made an experiment of another sort 
of legislation, and, inconsistent as are the laws I have mentioned 
Avith our modern " democratic" notions, in one respect, the laisser 
faire principle reigned in their politics, as completely as it has 
since ever done in Virginia. No governmental interference was 
ever allowed to prevent the planteis from defrauding their 


posterity of trie natural wealth of the land. They were, 
therefore, able to live sumptuously, but ever discontentedly, 
as spendthrifts do, and always staggering with debt, though 
spending, with all their might, their capital stock, their land's 

As their exhausted fields failed to meet the prodigal drafts 
of their luxury, they only made further clearings in tbe forest, 
and " threw out," to use their own phrase, so much of the land 
as they had ruined. Year after year the process continued ; the 
richer districts were all, at length, gone over ; the poorer soils 
of the slopes began to be attacked ; the old-fields, recuperating 
in the prudent economy of nature, after many years, were again 
cleared, and, now with some aid of manure, again, for a short 
time, found capable of producing tobacco. 


What this enormous, constant, and ruinous production of 
tobacco was needed to pay for, we are thus informed. 

" The families being altogether in' country-seats, they have their 
graziers, seedsmen, gardiners, brewers, bakers, butchers, and cooks, 
within themselves. They have plenty and variety of provision for 
their table ; and, as for spicery, and other things that the country 
don't produce, they have constant supplies of them from England. 
The gentry pretend to have their victuals drest, and served up, as 
nicely as if they were in London. Their small drink is either wine 
and water, beer, milk and water, or water alone. Their richer sort 
generally brew their small beer with malt which they have from 
England, though barley grows there very well. Their strong drink 
is Madeira wine, cider, mobby punch, made either of rum from the 
Caribbee islands, or brandy distilled from their apples and peaches, 
besides brandy, wine, and strong beer, which they have constantly 
from England. They have their clothing of all sorts from England. 
The very furs that their hats are made of, perhaps, go first from 

242 'our slave states. 

thence ; and most of their hides lie and rot, or are made use of only 
for covering dry goods in a leaky house. Indeed, some few hides, with 
much ado, are tanned and made into servants' shoes ; but at so careless 
a rate, that the planters don't care to buy them if they can get others ; 
and sometimes, perhaps, a better manager than ordinary will vouchsafe 
to make a pair of breeches of a deer-skin. Nay, they are such 
abominable ill-husbands, that though their country be over-run with 
wood, yet they have all their wooden ware from England; their 
cabinets, chairs, tables, stools, chests, boxes, cart-wheels, and all other 
things, even so much as their bowls and birchen brooms, to the eternal 
reproach of their laziness." — Beverley, 1620. 

And " Moll Flanders" says, with a detail characteristic of the 
author of Eobinson Crusoe : 

" Here we had (by an arrival from England) a supply of all sorts 
of clothes, as well for my husband as myself ; and I took especial care 
to buy for him all those things that I knew he delighted to have ; as 
two good long wigs, two silver-hilted swords, three or four fine fowling- 
pieces, a fine saddle, with holsters and pistols, very handsome, with a 

scarlet cloak And all this cargo arrived safe, and in good 

condition, with three women-servants, lusty wenches, suitable enough 
for the place and to the work we had for them to do, one of which 
happened to come double, having been got with child by one of the 

They had also to support the little dignity of their little 
Court with perhaps — by favor of the King — as much rank as 
that of a real Knight, from England, at its head ; and their little 
church, with its thorough-bred imported "clergy, and its little 
imitation of the great Church of England's persecution of 
sectaries. A bishop could not be afforded them, and if a young 
Virginian wished to preach the Gospel of the Carpenter's Son, 
he crossed the ocean for a qualifying ceremony.* 

* The province was divided into parishes, each of which was required to support 
a minister, at a salary of 16,000 pounds of tobacco, and handsome perquisites, 
such as two hundred pounds of tobacco for a marriage, and four hundred 
pounds for a funeral sermon. The eliurch-wardens were required to collect the 



The masses of the people continued to gain in nothing, but 
that animal manliness and hatred of restraint which a life in a 
wild or thinly-inhabited country always has a strong tendency 
to encourage. But the planters, paying but a trifle for their 
labor and monopolizing its profits, and enjoying the advantage 
of any rise in the value of the land which might result from 
the constant immigration the country had to sustain, not- 
withstanding they were always embarrassed with debt, and 
always complaining of the low prices at which their creditors 
would have their tobacco, really grew richer and more lordly ; 
and, had there not been so many, all jealous of each other's 
preferment, they probably would have become nobles indeed. 
They were, as a body, the nearest approach to the English 
aristocracy which America has ever possessed, not only in their 
follies and vices, but in their virtues and excellences. Of 
their habits, and the way these always continued, even until 
after the Eevolution, to eat away the natural agricultural 
capital of the country, the following is given, by one of their 
descendants, in the pages of the Southern Planter. 

minister's tobacco, and bring it to him in hogsheads, convenient tor snipping, 
"that they might have more time for the Exercises of their Holy Office, and 
live in Decency becoming their Order." Beverley observes that <: the labor 
of a dozen negroes does but answer this salary, and seldom yields a greater 
crop of sweet-scented tobacco than is allowed to each of the ministers." 
Besides their salary, a house and glebe was required to be provided the 
ministers ; and it is mentioned that, sometimes, " stocks of cattle and negroes " 
were added by donation, for which they were only required to surrender an 
equal value on leaving the parish. All ministers were required to be ordained 
in England, and to be endorsed by the Governor, and there were laws to 
prevent dissenting preachers from entering the province. In 1720, a meeting 
of the Friends , in Nasemond County, was the only congregation of Dissenters ; 
others had existed, Beverley mentions, but were now extinct; and, " it was 
observed, by letting them alone, tliey decreased daily." 


" The more wealthy proprietors, having no occupation of industry, 
spent their time mostly in seeking pleasure. Yisits to each other were 
frequent and protracted. It was rare that any one of this class was 
without some company, either at home or abroad. Besides such exer- 
cise of reciprocal hospitality, every idle or homeless ' gentleman' of the 
whole country found in every mansion a comfortable sojourning-place, 
and, at least, the outward show, if not the reality of welcome, so long as 
he might choose to stay. Of course, visits from such persons were ordi- 
nary occurrences — and were sometimes protracted for weeks or months. 
That this particular neighborhood was not ' eaten out' by this class of 
genteel and honorable vagrants and spongers, was not because of their 
deficiency of numbers, or of active use of their facilities, but because 
they had like privileges in every part of the country. This race, fortu- 
nately, is now extinct ; but many such individuals are still remembered, 
who, for many years of their adult life, and some for their whole life, 
pursued no other business, and had no other means of support, except 
visiting their friends ; of course they counted their friends by hundreds. 

" The wealthier proprietors were not only hospitable and kind hosts, 
but also refined and pleasing companions. Their fathers' wealth had 
served to give to them the education and manners of good society. "With 
many excellent social and moral qualities, their habits of idleness and 
pleasure-seeking naturally led to the attendant and consequent vices. 
Social drinking was often carried to excess ; and card-playing was sure 
to be introduced whenever as many neighbors dined together as served 
to make up a game of loo. Horse-racing was a favorite amusement of 
all classes ; some of the farmers owned and ran race-horses, and nearly 
all reared horses of the high blood, and at the high cost required for the 

How like this is to the "true Irish gentleman," of ten or 
twenty years ago. But let it not be forgotten that, when the 
time of retribution came, the slaves suffered no physical want 
— the peasant starved. 

No man of wealth, or with a moderate estate, thought of 
attending personally to his farming. Every detail of manage- 
ment was intrusted to the overseers, who were rarely stimu- 
lated by even the general superintendence and control of their 


employers. Overseers' wages were generally paid in a certain 
share or proportion of the crops they made. Thus, they had 
a direct interest in drawing from the land and labor as much 
as possible, during the current year of their engagement ; and 
none whatever in preserving or increasing the productive 
power of the land for later times. It came to be recognized, 
as a maxim of agricultural morals, that " it was not just for 
a proprietor to interfere with, and change, his overseer's designed 
direction of the labors of the farm, inasmuch as any abstraction 
from immediate product, for the sake of future improvement, 
operated to lessen the overseer's profits for the present year." 
This doctrine accorded so well with the disposition of every 
indolent, careless, and wasteful proprietor, then it is no wonder 
that it came to be generally received, and conformed to in 

A carefully-drawn picture of the social condition and habits 
of the people of Virginia, at a period not long before the 
Eevolution, is given by a writer for Putnam's Monthly, who, 
from the close topographical knowledge, of some parts of the 
State, he displays, and other internal evidence, is evidently 
also a Virginian. I quote what is most pertinent. 

— " Newspapers, and literature at large, were a proscribed com- 
modity, thanks to Sir William Berkeley and his successors.* He 

* Sir William Berkeley had said, being then Governor of Virginia : " I thank 
God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have them 
these hundred years." At this time, when Boston contained five printing 
offices, and as many booksellers' shops, there was not one of either in all the 
rich and populous Southern colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina. 
Progress, since, in this particular, has closely corresponded with that of 
all other industrial progress in the slave countries. The publication of a 
book, at Richmond — an event occurring not oftener, on an average, than 
once a year — is as much a subject of universal congratulation, by all the 
public press of the South, as the birth of a royal heir is in England. No 


[the Virginia gentleman] knew not what was going on in the next 
county, and the man who had made a journey to the little metro- 
polis of Middle Plantation, or Williamsburg, was listened to, by his 
neighbors, as a miniature Herodotus. At intervals a vessel arrived 
from London or the West Indies, which brought, with a new Order in 
Council, or a fresh installment of negroes, some confused items of foreign 
news ; or, perhaps, some young Virginian, fresh from Oxford or Cam- 
bridge, astonished the country gentlemen of his native county, with the 
last intelligence from the mother-country — the newest Parisian mode — 
or, better still, brought, in his traveling-trunk, the best productions of 
English or European writers, or the earlier numbers of the Gentle- 
man's Magazine, or a file of London papers, which would afford pleasant 
reading, for the next month, to the neighbors for miles around." 

" There were no cities in Virginia, even no towns, at the time of 
which we speak. The country gentleman had a peculiar and most 
genuine dislike to centralization in every form. He had an aversion, 
too, to much government, and gladly encountered the alternative of too 
little, if he was but left to lord it in peace and quiet over his ' large and 
well-conditioned household,' [a household, be it remembered, which 
might be numbered by hundreds]. Here he was supreme lord — a 
species of feudal baron, living in a sort of noble profusion and ease, 
which gave room for all his peculiarities and idiosyncrasies to spread 
themselves at will, and gratified at once his hobby of paramount rule, 
and his virtue of liberal and indiscriminate hospitality. In vain did 
Government, whether in London or Williamsburg, fulminate act after 

book, I presume, ever paid for the cost of its publication, by its Southern 
circulation alone, unless it was a strongly sectional, or a religious book. 
There is a constant complaint that the circulation of Northern magazines 
at the South prevents Southern magazines from being supported ; and fre- 
quent efforts are made to hinder people from taking them, by accusations of 
their hostility to Southern interests, or their indifference to Southern prejudices. 
It is a ridiculous mistake. The old Southern Literary Messenger probably 
sold more at the North, in proportion to its whole circulation, although it never 
flunkied to the North at all, than any Northern periodical sells at the South, 
in proportion to its Northern circulation. No Northern magazine would live 
a month, at least in its present excellence, on its Southern circulation alone; 
and none, I believe, not prepared expressly for the Southern market, has a 
tithe of its whole circulation in the Slave Stains. ,No Northen editor fears 
especially to offend the South, as is generally supposed ; but many fear that, if 
they do offend the South, they will be calumniated and injured at the North. 


act at this instinct ; decreeing, even, that tobacco, the staple of 
Virginia, should not be shipped, except at certain spots upon the 
rivers ; in vain were towns laid and incorporated. The cities did not 
appear, the towns were not built up ; and these localities remain to 
this day, with their dilapidated wharves, and old crumbled warehouses 
— an eloquent memento of the vain attempt to force this stubborn race 
from what they clung to with the pertinacity of martyrs — their isolated 
country life. 

" But this life was not in another sense isolated. At every court-day, 
the country was brought together ; visits were courteously exchanged 
between neighbors ; and the owner was proud of his fine-blooded horse, 
his trotting-mares, or his six well-conditioned grays, which thunder along 
with the old family chariot. This vehicle, which has come all the way 
from London, was, on all occasions of ceremony, of indispensable 
importance, and, in journeys of any length, it ever came prominently 
into play : that was no trifle to travel, in state, the twenty or thirty 
miles a day which it accomplished. The coachman must time his posts 
by the road-side taverns, or private residences competent to recruit the 
energies of himself, his animals, and the half-dozen persons, who tem- 
porarily existed in this moving mansion. The appearance of the coach 
was ever greeted, by the artisan or humble farmer, with great respect, 
but ill-concealed distaste. The pedestrian was covered with a cloud of 
dust, as it rolled grandly onward ; and the humble carter must carefully 
keep from the middle of the road, otherwise a splintered wheel and a 
roll in the dirt would warn him to make way the next time for the 
'gentry' Honorable, hospitable, and, at the bottom of their hearts, 
kind and charitable, they yet nursed a high and overweening sense 
of their own importance and dignity. Long supremacy among their 
negroes and indented servants had taught them to expect implicit 
obedience from all inferiors ; and, if any one, so unfortunate as to 
belong to the commons, and thus to be inferior to them in blood, 
refinement, or possessions, did not yield to their arrogance, every 
means was put in requisition to reduce him to his proper level. Such 
a man was always welcome to the best the ' gentleman Proprietor's ' 
table afforded ; he was treated kindly, assisted, if need be ; but, with 
the profuse hospitality lavished on him, all connection between them 
ended. To do more would be to forget what, in the nature of things, 
he could never lose sight of — the fact that he was one of the gentry — his 
guest, a commoner." 


That hospitality was ever so general a virtue among the 
common people in Old Virginia, as to entitle them to the repu- 
tation they have acquired for it, there is some reason to 
doubt. " There being no inns in the country, strangers 
were entertained at the houses of the inhabitants, and were 
frequently involved in lawsuits by the exorbitant claims of their 
liosts for indemnification of the expenses of their entertainment."* 
This refers to the latter days of the colony more especially. 


Beverley gives a detailed account of the industrial condi- 
tion of the Province early in the eighteenth century. 

"In extreme fruit fulnefs," he fays, "it is exceeded by no Other." 
" No Seed is fown there but it thrives, and moil: of the Northern 
Plants are improved by being tranfplanted thither." "And yet there's 
very little Improvement made among them, feldom Anything us'd in 
Traffick but Tobacco." "Fruit trees are wonderfully quick of Growth. 
Yet they are very few that take any Care at all for an Orchard ; 
nay, many that have good Orchards are Co negligent of them, as to 
let them go to Ruin, and expofe the Trees to be torn and bark'd by- 
Cattle." " A Garden is nowhere fooner form'd than here, and yet 
they ha'nt many Gardens in the Country fit to bear the Name of 
Gardens." "All Sorts of Englifh Grain thrive yet, they don't make a 
Trade of any of them." " The Sheep increafe well, and bear good 
Fleeces ; but they are generally fuffered to be torn off their Backs by 
Briars and Bufhes, or elfe are left rotting on the Dunghill with their 
Skins." " The Woods produce great variety of Incense and fweet 
Gums, Honey and Sugar. Yet there's no ufe made of any of them, 
either for Profit or Refrefhment." "All Sorts of Naval Stores may 
be produced there, as Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Plank, Timber, and 
all Sorts of Malls and Yards, befides Sails, Cordage and Iron ; and all 
thefe may be tranfported by an easy Water-carriage." 

" Thefe and a thoufand other Advantages that Country produces, 
which its Inhabitants make no manner of ufe of. They can fee their 
Naval Stores daily Benefit other People, who fend thither to build 
Ships. They receive no Benefit nor Refrefhment from the sweet 

* Grahaine's Hist, of N. A. 


and precious Things they have growing amongft them ; but make 
ufe of the Induftry of England for all fuch Things. 

" What Advantage do they fee the neighboring Plantations make 
of their Grain and Provifions, while they, who can produce them 
infinitely better, not only negledt the making a Trade thereof, but 
even a necefsary Provifion againft an accidental Scarcity, contenting 
themfelves with a Supply of Food from Hand to Mouth ; fo, that if 
it fhould pleafe God to send them an unfeafonable Year, there would 
not be found in the Country Provifions fufficient to fupport the 
People for three Months extraordinary ! 

" They depend upon the Liberality of Nature, without endeavor- 
ing to improve its Gifts by Art or Induftry. They fponge upon 
the Bleffings of a warm Sun and a fruitful Soil, and almoft grutch 
the Pains of gathering in the Bounties of the Earth. I fhould be 
afhamed to publifh this flothful Indolence of my Countrymen, but, 
that I hope it will fome time or other roufe them out of their Le- 
thargy, and excite them to make the moft of all thefe happy Advan- 
tages which Nature has given them ; and if it does this, I am fure they 
will have the* Goodnefs to forgive me." — Beverley, p. 284. 

We Americans have now a habit of congratulating each 
other on the material prosperity and independence of our 
country, and of glorifying our wise government and our "free 
institutions," as the cause of it. But Ave should not forget that 
we have lately, by the dignified and deliberate act of the 
Kepublic's servants, given free range, over millions of fertile 
acres, to essentially the. same institutions of society which 
produced, and which still, spite of every advantageous sur- 
rounding, are still maintaining, in Virginia, that paralysis of 
enterprise and imbecility of industry, thus pathetically deplored 
a hundred and fifty years ago. 

When Beverley speaks of the adjoining colonies, as taking 
the trade of Virginia, he can refer only to the more democratic 
and free-laboring Northern colonies. In the Carolinas, an ex- 
actly similar state of things existed to that in Virginia 

So early as 1676, it is recorded that "New England traders, 


penetrating into the interior of the province of Albemarle, and 
bringing their goods to every man's door, had obtained a 
monopoly of the produce of the province. The proprietors in 
England endeavored, in vain, to substitute a direct intercourse 
"with Britain, for this disadvantageous commerce."® 

In 1677, the chief magistrate of this province was deposed 
and imprisoned by an insurrection of the people, consequent 
upon an attempt to interrupt the New England trade. The 
Assembly having once complained that the English proprietors 
did not give sufficient encouragement to immigration, and that 
the country consequently suffered from a deficiency of tradesmen 
and mechanics, they (the English proprietors) made answer 
that the inconvenience complained of was promoted by the 
complainants — 

" By the lazy rapacity with which each desired to surround 
himself with a large expanse of property, over which he could 
exercise no other act of ownership than, that of excluding the 
occupants by whom it might be most advantageously culti- 

The Assembly, however, followed its own counsel, and decreed 
that none should be sued for debt, within the limits of its juris- 
diction, for five years after his arrival ; that no inhabitant should 
accept a power of attorney to collect debts contracted abroad, 
etc. This had the desired effect of attracting immigration; 
but not of a very respectable or valuable character. Virginia 
and Maryland both had laws of similar import. 

That Beverley did not exaggerate the danger of famine, at a 
time when the annual export of tobacco, to pay for clothing, 
slaves, and other imported necessities and luxuries, was between 

* Grahame's Hist, of North America, p. 120. 


thirty and forty millions of pounds annually,* is evident from 
the legislative precautions taken to prevent it. The prices of 
every other product except corn were, at one time, fixed by law, 
with the avowed purpose of inducing farmers to plant it ; three 
officers were appointed in every county, for the express purpose 
of obliging every settler to plant and tend sufficient corn-ground 
to insure an adequate supply to maintain his own family ! 
Public granaries were established, to which every planter was 
ordered to contribute one bushel of corn, annually, to be dis- 
posed of as the Commonwealth should require. I am told, 
and the Southern agricultural journals confirm it, that such 
laws are needed now, in some parts of the cotton States, and 
would be advocated, but for the shame of publishing to the 
North the irreformable improvidence of the people. 

Some of my readers may require yet to have it explained how- 
it was that land monopoly, slavery, and servile or degraded and 
ignorant labor led to that state of things which Beverley be- 
wailed, and which, indeed, to this day constitutes, strangely 
enough, both the glory and the shame, which is the basis alike 
of the silly vanity and the impotent anger of the sons of the 
Virginia cavaliers. 

Manufactories and mechanic arts of all sorts thrive best 
in towns or dense communities, because different branches 
assist each other, not only morally, by stimulating mental ac- 
tivity, but materially. The carriage-maker calls upon the black- 
smith, the currier, and the worker in leather ; the blacksmith 
may, at any time, be glad of the services of the currier, the 
cobbler, or the wheel-wright, to mend his bellows. The spinners 
and weavers need to have near them, masons, machinists, and 

* De Bow's Resources, iii., p. 347. 


mill-wrights. All need farmers (not planters) to supply 
their daily needs. In a country, therefore, where all men 
"mind nothing hut to be masters of a great estate, and to 
plant themselves separately on . their several plantations," 
trades and manufactures are not likely to thrive. But, 
suppose one of these plantation lords to own a large number 
of boys whose labor he desires to appropriate most advan- 
tageously to himself. The employment to which they must 
be trained cannot be of such a character as to require the 
use of much discretion; because there can be no sufficient 
motive to induce them to exercise it, which does not involve 
personal interest in the object of that employment, and 
therefore, a partnership in its possession, or a receipt of 
wages in some proportion to skill. In proportion, also, 
to the amount of discretion required of a slave, the 
reins of authority must be slackened. If he uses his own 
skill, he must go his own way. If he goes his own way, 
he will go negligently and with all possible indolence, 
unless he has some advantage for himself to gain, by care 
and dispatch. This he hardly can have, if the result of his 
labor is to inure wholly to the advantage of another. The 
selfishness, therefore, of the owner of a slave-boy, will lead 
him to undertake to make the boy labor at such simple' work 
and under such circumstances as will keep him most easily 
and certainly under his control. 

It is a fact that slave-mechanics, manufacturers' hands, steve- 
dores, servants, and those engaged in almost all employments 
superior to that of field-hands, in the Southern States, are, 
nearly always, "gratified" with some sort of wages, or per- 
quisites, or stimulants, to skill and industry, in some form ; and 


are more intelligent, more privileged, and more insubordinate 
than the general mass. This will be sufficiently apparent from 
observations I shall hereafter record. 


" The struggle for equality in all the relations of life, for the liberty of man 
against the dominion of man, is necessarily founded on the consciousness of 
the importance of the individual. 

" Their motto is, All by the People : their practice, Nothing for the People." 
— Introduction to a History of the Nineteenth Century. 


Ignorance is weakness ; and the ignorant man instinctively 
merges his ambition and his claims of justice with those of an 
aggregate — makes that aggregate an object of partiality and 
bigotry, and finds satisfaction for his enthusiasm in the success 
of those who guide and represent it, though that success in no 
wise affect his own interest. 

The peculiar political aspiration of the people of Virginia, 
as a whole, was, on this account, less to maintain due considera- 
tion for individual rights, than to obtain and preserve communal 
independence and notoriety. 

The wealthy and educated class, however, while they were 
entirely en rapport with the general communal spirit, were also 
remarkably characterized by personal assumption and dignity. 
And this, because the smallness of their number, proportion- 
ately to the whole people, and their widely-separated residences, 
gave to each a high local consideration and power, and led 
to inordinate self-respect. 

The unusual and unexpected exactions of the exterior, royal 
government aroused, therefore, among the influential class of 
Virginians, a more passionate discontent than elsewhere; while 


the poor people were more ready, than those of other colonies, 
perhaps, to encourage a disposition in their leaders to commu- 
nal independence. 

Virginia, therefore, was early and determined, in the expres- 
sion of her dissatisfaction with the royal impositions Avhich led 
to the Eevolution. 

Yet great agitation, much, and rapid, and excited progress of 
thought, was necessary, before the aristocratic or the yeoman 
class could come to the point of actual treason, or bring to it 
the poor, and ignorant, and the superstitiously loyal. 

If it was right for them to resist these demands of their king, 
the conscientious would ask, how should they define what de- 
mands it was not right to resist 1 ? If their royal master's 
authority was exercised by right divine, it was wrong for them 
to resist it at all — nay, even to feel discontent. If it was not 
by right divine, then by what right ? On what right rests any 
governmental authority? Is there no alternative between 
despotism and anarchy? What is the basis of civil government? 

There could be no hearty, united, and determined resistance, 
while these questions were left without some logically-satisfactory 
answer. The people at large could not be called upon, and 
stirred up to a spirited defense, without knowing, more clearly, 
what it was that was to be defended — what they were to gain. 
Stamp-acts and tea-taxes did not really trouble the great ma- 
jority of Virginians, in the slightest degree, personally, only the 
people of some property — for the mass were still illiterate vaga- 
bonds ; but, even among the better sort, no man could trust 
another, till each knew what all wanted, and to what limit all 
were prepared to stand out. 

The best men in the Province — those in whose goodness, 


wisdom, and bravery, their neighbors had most confidence — 
were, therefore, appointed to make a declaration of the principles 
and purposes by and for which the government of Virginia 
should thereafter be guided, and which should constitute a plat- 
form broad enough for all to stand upon, without jealousies and 
distrusts, and so just and reasonable as to command the respect 
and fealty of every individual, and of all classes. 

The instrument of this declaration is still preserved, as a 
curious historical relic, in Virginia, and is interesting, if, for 
nothing else, as an evidence to what lengths men will go, when 
they have set their hearts upon an object and find it desperate 
business to accomplish it. For it announces principles which 
the intelligent classes in Virginia, always before and generally 
since, have held to be absurd, preposterous, and dangerous. 

For instance, it asserts the equality of men, in freedom and 
independence — a " self-evident absurdity," as they now say ; for 
a strong and wise man can, at any time, prevent or destroy the 
freedom and independence of a weak man, of which, proof is 
not wanting. That every man has certain "inherent rights" 
— one of which is named liberty ; another absurdity, for the 
same reason. Another, the right of labor (" of obtaining prop- 
erty") — not only absurd, but very horrible : another, the right 
of enjoying the fruits of his labor, to the fullest degree compa- 
tible with security to all other men to equally enjoy the results 
of their labor — a dangerous and impracticable doctrine : another, 
the right of private judgment, in matters of religion and morali- 
ty, so far as it can be exercised compatibly with the preserva- 
tion to all of this and all other rights ; of which, very little is 
now said. 

On this original platform, reasonable or not reasonable — and 


I do not want any one to doubt a moment that I consider it 
reasonable, and suppose that I see a meaning quite reconcilable 
with the facts considered to render it absurd, only I wish to be 
respectful to those who cannot — on this platform, they impliedly 
promised, if they should succeed in maintaining their independ- 
ence of the power tben deemed wickedly oppressive, to reorganize 
society ; and they called upon all tbe people of Virginia, of all 
classes, of all degrees of muscular strength and intellectual 
capacity and acquirements, poor and ricb, cavalier and base- 
blooded, to fraternize, and rise, and fight. 

And they did it, fraternizing at the same time with others 
making similar professions, and having similar purposes; and 
they all fought together, and succeeded, all equally, in obtaining 
— not the security of these so-called natural rights, but — com- 
munal independence of their old king. 

By the time they came to the work of forming the instruments 
of order for their to-be-reorganized society, there had evidently 
occurred a violent reaction from the fervency and highly stimu- 
lated judgment under which the Bill of Bights had been drawn 
up, among the influential people of Virginia — for the constitution 
of the new State was widely inconsistent with the principles 
of liberty, equality, and fraternity, previously distinctly pro- 
claimed, and promised to be used as its supports and barriers. 

The people, imposed upon and deprived of their acknowledged 
rights, be it observed, were, by chance, the weakest, most igno- 
norant, and poorest — consequently, the least likely to regard the 
imposition, and the least able to resist it. 

There were a few men, among those whose natural rights were 
respected, who did not like this, and who strongly protested 
against it. Among them, Thomas Jefferson was foremost. 


To the new Constitution of Virginia he strongly objected, 
in several particulars, not only on the score of consistency, 
but of justice and good judgment. For instance, that the 
majority of the tax-paying and fighting men of the State were 
unrepresented in its government; and, again, that things had 
been so managed that, even among those who were permitted to 
vote, there were nineteen thousand in the rich plantation-counties 
of the east, who could elect more members of the legislature 
than thirty thousand in the more free counties of the west; 
accordingly, the State would be virtually ruled, not by the 
people through their elected representatives, but by an oligarchy 
of slave-holders.* 

A large majority of the people of the country were Dissent- 
ers from the Established Church of the English Colony ; yet, 
a proposal to realize the declared right of entire religious 
freedom was met by an opposition which occasioned, as Jef- 
ferson afterwards declared, the most severe political struggle in 
which he was ever engaged. The most that could be obtained 
at that time, after all, was an abrogation of the laws 
which denounced punishment for maintaining unorthodox 
opinions, and for not attending the Episcopal church ; and 


acts exempting Dissenters from contributing to the support 
of the Episcopal clergy, and permitting them to build houses 
of worship of their own. It was not till several years later 
that any one else than the Episcopal clergymen were per- 
mitted to solemnize or legalize marriages, except by the pur- 
chase of a special license. The Episcopal church still con- 
tinued to be the " Established Church," and other religious 
societies were merely " tolerated."! 
* See Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, pages 172, 173. t Howison, ii. 192. 



Next to religious freedom, the most important change de- 
manded by the avowed principles of the Eevolution, was an 
alteration of the laws with regard to the descent of property. 
The laws of primogeniture and descent in tail, were felt to 
be unnatural, discouraging to industry, and, by their effect in 
aggravating the evils to society of the excessive possession 
and control of land, opposed to the declared right of all to 
the " means of obtaining wealth." 

Mr. Howison thus clearly and truly describes these laws 
and their influence : 

" Nothing can convey a more vivid idea of the strong aristocratic 
feeling pervading Virginia, than her course as to this scheme. In Eng- 
land, the courts had set their faces against entails, and permitted them 
to be docked by a fine and recovery ; but the law-makers of the Old 
Dominion held all such innovations in high contempt, and, by a statute 
enacted in 1705, forbade their use. To complete their work in 1727, 
they enacted that slaves might be attached to lands, and might be 
entailed with them, subject to all the incidents proper to the system. 
Over the whole Eastern region, fine lands were held by families, who 
guarded their privileges with more than English jealousy. 

" An aristocracy neither of talent, nor of learning, nor of moral worth, 
but of landed and slave interest, was (thus) fostered. The members of 
the Council of State were always chosen'from this class ; and in many 
respects they were regarded as the peerage of the land. 

" Where lands could neither be sold nor mortgaged, debts must often 
have been contracted which were never paid ; yet, the tenants in tail, 
lived in luxurious ease, to which others were strangers. The rich 
people of Virginia were then richer than at present, and the poor were 
poorer. There was no prospect for that equal distribution of property 
which is the legitimate reward of industry. Coaches, drawn by four 
horses, rolled from the doors of the aristocracy ; and plate of gold and 
silver, in the utmost profusion, glittered on their boards, while the poor 
artisan and laborer worked for the necessaries of life, without any hope 
of ever gaining any portion of the property guarded by entail." • 


A bill, proposed by Jefferson, providing that thereafter all 
estates in tail should be converted into fee simple, so that 
the owner might sell, devise, mortgage, or otherwise dispose 
of them as he thought proper, was at length carried, after 
another very warm and protracted struggle. 

Next, the law of primogeniture was attacked ; a strong 
defense was made for it by the aristocratic party ; and 
when they found it must be repealed, they urged, "in 
the spirit of compromise," that the Jewish rule of inhe- 
ritance should be substituted: this gives the eldest son 
a double portion. Mr. Jefferson answered the proposal, 
with the remark, that unless the eldest son required a double 
portion of food, or would do double the work of any other, 
there was no justice in giving him double the property. 

The law was repealed. Mr. Featherstonaugh, an English 
Tory who visited the United States in 1836, dates from this 
repeal all the adversity under which Virginia has since 
suffered. The seeds of much of the adversity which he wit- 
nessed were produced by the law: cutting it away did not 
destroy at once their vitality ; but it removed a pernicious 
shade from labor, and, but for this timely relief, industry 
would not, I am convinced, be now known to have ever existed 
at all in Eastern Virginia, except by the evidence of the 
desert it had been forced to create. 

The argument against all these changes was, not that they 
were not demanded by justice and sound principles of govern- 
ment, but, that it was not safe to move so rapidly. They 
were old institutions under which Virginia had existed for a 
century or more. They were unjust, it might, in some sense, 
be admitted, and their effects, it could not be denied, were 


sometimes rather unhappy; but destroy them, replace them 
with laws more abstractly just, and — who knew that there 
would not follow worse consequences ? It was fanatical to 
push forward the experiment so rapidly. Besides, people 
had been born into the world under these laws, and had 
taken duties and responsibilities upon themselves, in the ex- 
pectation that they would be sustained. They had a right 
to demand, it was urged, therefore, that they should be 
sustained : but now, when the right principles of law have 
been enunciated, leave it for posterity to enact them. It 
will then be every man's own fault, if he is not prepared for 

Jefferson well understood the danger of this course. He 
urged that justice should be done, and right should be main- 
tained then and there, and at all hazards. And with the prophetic 
mind of true statesmanship, such as we have had no approach 
to since, he uttered in 1787 this remarkable warning and 
prediction: men who pretend to be his disciples, should not 
pass it lightly — 

" Tlie spirit of the times may alter — will alter. Our rulers will become 
corrupt, our people careless. It can never be too often repeated, that the 
time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers 
are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war, we 
shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every 
moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, 
and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole 
faculty of making money, aud will never think of omitting to effect a 
due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not 
be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long — 
will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive, or expire in 
a convulsion."* 

* Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, 239. 


Impelled by these convictions, while the country was yet 
excited with all the turmoil and terror of invasion and war, 
while a price was yet set upon his head, as there last year 
was on the heads of men who were laboring to have his 
principles of government carried out in our young states, Mr. 
Jefferson, besides the radical improvements already noted, 
earnestly and confidently desired to have permanent enact- 
ments introduced into the laws for the emancipation of t/ie 


The scheme of emancipation which Jefferson advocated would 
have provided that all negroes born after it had passed should 
be entitled to freedom ; that they should remain with their 
parents until of a certain age, " then be brought up, at the 
public expense, to tillage, arts, or sciences, according to their 
geniuses, till the females should be eighteen, the males twenty- 
one years of age, when they should be colonized to such 
place as the circumstances of the time should render most 
proper, sending them out with implements of household and 
the handicraft arts, etc., etc. ; that they should then be declared 
to be a free and independent people ; that protection and 
assistance should be afforded them until they had acquired 
strength; and that, at the same time, an equal number of 
white people, from other parts of the ivorld, should he sent for, 
and induced, by proper encouragements, to migrate into Virginia."^ 
He apologizes at length for proposing to expatriate the negroes, 
on the ground of the impracticability of their amalgamation 
or comfortable association with the whites. 

* Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, 2C',i. t lb., 204. 


To the great grief of its author, this project was not carried: 
he never afterwards ceased to bewail the neglect, or to deplore 
the consequences. But it is the grand characteristic of Jeffer- 
son, that he is not merely a philanthropist, a philosopher, and 
a patriot ; he is also a strong practical statesman : he knows 
when to strike and when to hold. With the boldness, gene- 
rosity, and clear moral vision, reached by the planters in the 
first struggle for their own liberty, the day for justice and 
Hberality to those beneath them was past. Virginia, during 
his life-time, was in no condition to be asked to make sacri- 
fices of property ; and, after the seven years' exhausting war, to 
secure temporary peace and harmony, much was properly post- 
poned; but he never ceased to hope that the spirit of the age, 
" the advancement of the human mind," as the country grew 
stronger and richer, would yet be able to grapple with the 
difficulty, and to solve it in accordance with republican prin- 
ciples. Alas ! the human mind advances slowly when it has 
to drag slavery. 

The following extracts are taken from the correspondence 
of Jefferson, published by Congress, 1854 : 


" Paris, February 12, 1788. 
" Sik : — I am very sensible of the honor you propose to me of becom- 
ing a member of tbe society for the abolition of the Slave Trade. Tou 
know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition, not only of 
the trade, but of the condition of Slavery." 

"to benjamin banneeek. 

" Philadelphia, August 30, 1791. 
" Sir : — I thank you sincerely for your letter of the 19th instant, and 
for the Almanac it contained. Nobody wishes more than I do to see 
such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren 


talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that appearance 
of a want of them is owing mainly to the degraded condition of their 
existence, both in Africa and America. I can add, with truth, that 
nobody wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for 
raising the condition both of their body and mind to what it ought to 
be, as fast as the imbecility of their present existence and other circum- 
stances, which cannot be neglected, will permit." 


"Monticello, August 28, 1797. 
* * * «a s to the mode of Emancipation, I am satisfied that must 
be a matter of compromise between the passions and prejudices and the 
real difficulties, which will each have their weight in that operation. 
But if something is not done, and soon done, we shall be the murderers 
of our own children. The sooner we put some plan under way, the 
greater hope there is that it may be permitted to proceed peaceably to 
its ultimate effect." 


" Monticello, May 1, 1815. , 
*.**«« Some progress is sensibly made in it. yet not so much as I 
hoped and expected. But it will yield in time to temperate and steady 
pursuit, to the enlargement of the human mind, and its advancement in 
science. We are not in a world ungoverned by the laws and the power 
of a superior agent. Our efforts are in His hand, and directed by Him, 
and He will give them their effect in His own time. Where the 
disease is most deeply seated, there it will be slowest in eradication. 
In the Northern States, it was merely superficial and easily corrected ; 
in the Southern, it is incorporated with the whole system, and 
requires time, patience, and perseverance in the curative process. That 
it may finally be effected and its progress hastened, will be the last and 
fondest prayer of Thomas Jefferson." 

I extract the following passages from a letter to Edward Coles, 
first published in the National Intelligencer, dated 

"Monticello, August 25, 1814. 
" Dear Sir : — Your favor of July 31 was duly received, and was read 


with peculiar pleasure. The sentiments, breathed through the whole, do 
honor to both the head and heart of the writer. Mine on the subject 
of the Slavery of negroes have long since been in the possession of the 
public, and time has only served to give them stronger root. 

" The love of justice and the love of country plead equally the cause 
of these people, and it is a mortal reproach to us that they should have 
pleaded it so long in vain, and should have produced not a single effort 
— nay, I fear, not much serious willingness— to relieve them and our- 
selves from our present condition of moral and political reprobation. 
From those of the former generation who were in the fullness of age 
when I came into public life — which was while our controversy with 
England was on paper only — I soon saw that nothing was to be hoped. 
Nursed and educated in the daily habit of seeing the degraded condition, 
both bodily and mental, of those unfortunate beings, not reflecting that 
that degradation was very much the work of themselves and their 
fathers, few minds had yet doubted but that they were as legitimate 
subjects of property as their horses or cattle. The quiet and mono- 
tonous course of colonial life had been disturbed by no alarm and little 
reflection on the value of liberty; and when 'alarm was taken at an 
enterprise on their own, it was not easy to carry them the whole length 
of the principles which they invoked for themselves. In the first or 
second session of the Legislature after I became a member, I drew to 
this subject the attention of Col. Bland, one of the oldest, ablest, and 
most respected members, and he undertook to move for certain moderate 
extensions of the protection of the laws to these people. I seconded 
his motion, and, as a younger member, was more spared in the debate ; 
but he was denounced as an enemy to his country, and was treated with 
the greatest indecorum. 

" From an early stage of our Revolution, other and more distant 
duties were assigned me, so that from that time till my return from 
Europe in 1789, and, I may say, till I returned to reside at home in 
1809, I had little opportunity of knowing the progress of public 
sentiment here on this subject. I had always hoped that the younger 
generation, receiving their early impressions after the flame of liberty 
had been kindled in every breast, and had become, as it were, the vital 
spirit of every American, that the generous temperament of youth, 
analogous to the motion of their blood, and above the suggestions of 
avarice, would have sympathized with oppression wherever found, and 
proved their love of liberty beyond their own share of it. But my 


intercourse with them since my return has not been sufficient to 
ascertain that they had made toward this point the progress I had 
hoped. Your solitary but welcome voice is the first which has brought 
this sound to my ear, and I have considered the general silence which 
prevails on this subject as indicating an apathy unfavorable to our 
hopes. Yet the hour of emancipation is advancing in the march 
of time. It will come ; and, whether brought on by the generous 
energy of our own minds, or by the bloody process of St. Domingo, 
excited and conducted by the power of our present enemy, if once 
stationed permanently within our country, offering asylum and arms to 
the oppressed, is a leaf of our own history, and not yet turned over." 

Although, the planters were not then willing to surrender the 
property they had in slaves, and desired to postpone emancipa- 
tion until they could better afford to do so, it was universally 
known, felt, and acknowledged, that Slavery had been, and still 
continued to be, a great injury to the country, pernicious to 
morals, destructive to industry, and a dead weight upon enter- 
prise. In the Convention of 1774, it was unanimously resolved, 

" The abolition of domestic slavery is the greatest object of desire 
in those colonies where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state. 
But, previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves we have, it is necessary 
to exclude all further importations from Africa. Yet our repeated 
attempts to effect this by prohibitions, and by imposing duties whicli 
might amount to a prohibition, have been hitherto defeated by his 
Majesty's negative ; thus preferring the immediate advantages of a few 
African corsairs to the lasting interests of the American States, and to 
the rights of human nature, deeply wounded by this infamous practice. 
Nay, the single interposition of an interested individual against a law, 
was scarcely ever known to fail of success, though in the opposite scale 
were placed the interests of a whole country. That this is so shameful 
an abuse of a power trusted with his Majesty for other purposes, as, if 
not reformed, would call for some legal restrictions."* 

* American Archives, 4th series, i., 636. 


At a general meeting of the freeholders of Prince George's 
county, in 1775, it was unanimously resolved: "That the 
African trade is injurious to this colony, obstructs the popula- 
tion of it by freemen, prevents manufacturers and other useful 
emigrants from settling among us, and occasions an increase of 
the balance of trade against this colony."* 

In Princess Ann, Fairfax, {Geo. Washington presiding), Cul- 
pepper, ISTansemond, Caroline, Hanover, and Surrey counties, 
resolutions of similar import were also passed at formal meet- 
ings of the freeholders, and generally by unanimous vote. 
Subsequently, in the discussion of the power of the general 
government with regard to Slavery, Mr. Mason said, in the 
Virginia Legislature : 

" The present question concerns not the importing States alone, but 
the whole Union. The evil of having slaves was experienced during 
the late war. Had slaves been treated as they might have been by the 
enemy, they would have proved dangerous instruments in their hands. 
But their folly dealt by the slaves as it did by the Tories. Slavery 
discourages arts and manufactures. The poor despise labor when per- 
formed by slaves. They prevent the immigration of whites, who really 
enrich and strengthen a country. They produce the most pernicious 
effects on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. 
They bring the judgment of heaven on a country. By an inevitable 
chain of causes and effects Providence punishes national sins by national 
alamities. He lamented that some of our eastern brethren, from a lust 
of gain, have embarked in this nefarious traffic. As to the State being 
in the possession of the right to import, that was the case with many 
other rights now to be given up. He held it essential, in every point 
of view, that the General Government should have power to prevent the 
increase of slavery." 

The importation of slaves from the West Indies and Africa 
was forbidden : the emancipation of those already living in the 

* American Archives, 4th serieB, i., 494. 


land was merely postponed, as it was distinctly understood, 
until a more convenient season. 


Twenty-five acres of land, with such a cabin and other im- 
provements upon it as " poor white people " are now generally 
content with in Virginia, could not have been, at the time of the 
Eevolution, worth, on an average, more than one hundred 
dollars. The property of a majority of the able-bodied, tax 
paying men in the State, was then less than this.* 

Mr. Jefferson says, the poorer class are accustomed to live 
almost entirely on animal food, " although a free use of vege- 
tables is indispensable to their health and comfort." It is pro- 
bable that but few of them were habituated to regular labor, and 
that a large part still lived by hunting, and were but slightly 
elevated, if any at all, above the savages they had- displaced. 

The father of American Democracy, believing in his heart 
that these men were unjustly denied the right of taking part in 
the election of their rulers, yet acknowledging the danger of 
intrusting power in the hands of men so grossly ignorant, was 
anxious that measures should be taken, simultaneously with 
those he advocated for the removal of the slave-laborers, to 
elevate their children, and, at all events, to draw out from them 
a fully educated class of free citizens — men who should under- 
stand and sympathize with their wants, yet be fully competent 
for the highest offices of State. He was too true to himself, 
however, to advocate any marked distinctions of classes in the 
laws, such as characterize the present school-laws of Virginia. 

* Jefferson's Notes, comp. pp. 171, 172, 225. 


He proposed that the whole State should, as soon as 
practicable, be divided into districts, each, at most, of six 
miles square, in every one of which a school-house, and 
competent teacher should be provided: that all residents in 
the district should be entitled to send their children to this 
school for three years, without payment, and by payment of a 
fixed moderate tuition fee, as much longer as they pleased: 
That out of the scholars whose parents were unable to give their 
children more complete education, the boy showing most genius, 
in each school district, should be chosen annually, to be ad- 
vanced at the public expense, to a classical and mathematical, 
or High school : that from among the High school scholars, 
a certain number should be annually selected for promotion 
to a superior institution, where they should remain six years. 
This institution was intended to answer the purpose of a normal 
college, in supplying competent teachers for the common schools : 
but also from among its graduates, one-half of the most talented 
were to be offered three years' additional support by the State, 
while they pursued the study of arts and sciences at the Univer- 
sity. This University — the present University of Virginia, at 
Charlottesville — is the only part of this scheme which has yet 
been realized. It is a school for the rich — for the sons of 
slave-holders almost exclusively. 

" The general objects of this law," said Mr. Jefferson, " are to 
provide an education adapted to the years, to the capacity, and 
the condition of every one, and directed to their freedom and 
happiness." " Of the views of this law, none is more important, 
none more legitimate than that of rendering the people the safe, 
as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. The 
people themselves are the only safe depositories of government. 


And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a 
certain degree. This, indeed, is not all that is necessary, 
though it be essentially necessary." 

The proposal met with no greater favor than that for the edu- 
cation and gradual emancipation of the slaves. However earnest 
Mr. Jefferson was, nothing can be more evident than that, even 
then, there was no sincere purpose on the part of the planters 
— that is, the rich and powerful — to constitute a truly Demo- 
cratic government, or even to prepare the ground for it. Yet 
the results of what he was able to accomplish by the power of 
his eloquence, over their egotism and illiberality, are such as 
to encourage us never to fear, when we have an opportunity to 
legislate in advance of our age. The people of Virginia have 
not, to this day, as a body, approached to Jefferson's sound, 
practical and Christian views of governmental and social science. 
Yet, to his limited success in embodying those views in their 
Constitution and laws, they are indebted for most of their 
present limited prosperity. 


Before the Kevolution, there were, in Virginia, beside the 
temporary servile class, four distinct legal and social orders of 
the people : first, the aristocracy proper ; second, the common free 
men ; third, the poor whites, or non-freeholders, who had no vote- 
on the matters of the Commonwealth ; fourth, the slaves proper. 
The history of Virginia, since the Kevolution, is a record of the 
industrial advantages resulting from the downfall of the old 
aristocracy and the formation of a younger — and, therefore, more 
vigorous, — broader — and, therefore, freer and less sharply de- 
fined — modern aristocracy. By comparing the industrial pro- 


gress of the state with that of others, more democratically- 
organized and managed, and entirely or nearly free from Slavery 
proper, an index is also given us of the injury the Common- 
wealth has experienced from Slavery, and from morbid pro- 
slavery conservatism. 

Neither the condition nor the character of the poor 
people of the east was, on the whole, much improved by 
the Eevolution. The class of well-to-do planters, the wealthier 
yeomen of the country, were chiefly elevated and benefited by 
it.* Its effect on the old aristocracy was not directly ruinous ; 
it merely exposed its essential weakness, and revealed the heavy 
expense to the Commonwealth by which it had hitherto been sus- 
tained. A generation passed away, before payment of the deht it 
had been running up for nearly two centuries was demanded, and 
its pride distinctly brought low. 

The interval needs no particular account. The system of 
husbandry — so to dignify the pernicious method of extract- 
ing the wealth of the land, which prevailed — had neces- 
sarily, already, been somewhat modified. The great size 
of the plantations was a principal hindrance to any ex- 
tended improvement. The cultivated land was divided into 
"in-fields" and "out-fields;" the former, being those nearest 
the central establishment, received all the manure that was 
made, and were planted with tobacco ; the out-fields, were those 
at such a distance that manure could not be afforded to be 
carried to them. If not thought to be rich enough, without 

* In the first Bill for organizing a militia, drawn up by Patrick Henry, the 
people of the State were designated, as they would be in England, " gentlemen 
and yeomen," the distinction of class being, even at such a time, and by such 
a man, distinctly recognized. 


the aid of manure, to produce a single crop of tobacco when first 
cleared up (after having been thrown out for many years), they 
were planted with maize, several years in succession, and, after- 
wards, cropped with maize and wheat alternately; or, if the 
wheat crop fell to less than three (3 !) bushels an acre, with 
maize alone. Occasionally a " rest," of a year or two, would be 
permitted, during which the spontaneous growth of weeds was 
closely pastured. This process was continued as long as the 
land would produce five bushels of maize to the acre ; when 
the crop fell below that, the land would be left alone twenty 
or thirty years (the length of time depending on the number of 
negroes the planter owned in proportion to the size of his plan- 
tation), when it would be again subjected to the same course.* 

It was estimated that the crops of the whole State, just pre- 
vious to the Eevolution, were worth respectively — per annum, 
communihus annis — as follows : 

Tobacco, .... $1,650,000 
Wheat, ... - 666,666 

Maize, 200,000 

Pork, $40,000 

Brandy and Whisky, - - 6,666 

Horses, ----- 6,666 

All other agricultural productions, 14,667 

The tobacco-crop being still, if we except the small items of 
horses and distilled spirits, more than twice the value of all other 
agricultural productions, and ten times the value of all the ship- 
ping, lumber, naval stores, peltry, and other productions of the 
forest, fisheries, mines, and manufactures. 

But its production was falling off, and Mr. Jefferson, com- 
menting on the above statement, rejoices in the hope that it will 
soon be necessarily given up altogether. It is important to 
remember this ; and I shall again refer to it — that the culture 

* See Ruffin's Essay on Calcareous Manures. 


of tobacco was already so little profitable that the amount grown 
was rapidly declining — and, that the philosophical statesman, 
who was the author of the bills tor abrogating entails and primo- 
geniture, saw, in the prospect of its entire discontinuance, 
subject for congratulation, rather than regret. 

I can find no distinct statements or estimates, with regard 
to the material interests of Virginia, for a long time after 
the Kevolution. It is certain that, owing to the causes I 
have mentioned, the culture of tobacco became necessarily less 
and less, on the Eastern Virginia plantations, and the labor 
owned upon them was necessarily devoted increasingly to the 
culture of wheat and maize. The income from the land and 
labor became constantly smaller ; not because of the substitution 
of grain for tobacco, but because of the gradual but constant 
deterioration of the soil, which that substitution marked. 

I use the awkward term, " income from property in land 
and labor," instead of the simple one, "profits of agricul- 
ture," because there never had yet been any legitimate profit 
of agriculture, in Virginia. From the beginning the plant- 
ing aristocracy had merely been living on its capital ; the 
whole labor of the country had been, and still, at the Eevo- 
lution, continued to be engaged in nothing else but transmuting 
the soil of the country into tobacco — which was sent to 
England to purchase luxuries for its masters — and into 
bread for the bare support of its inhabitants, without making 
any return. Some manure, it is true, was occasionally de- 
posited; but it was not, probably, one per cent, of the value 
of the capital of fertility which was washed into the sea 
between the periods at which it was applied. Entail, primo- 
geniture, and Slavery, had^ been sufficient to hide the increas- 


ing poverty of the country under the ostentatious hospitality 
and pompous airs of the aristocracy. This extravagance, how- 
ever, could not, under the most favorable circumstances, have 
lasted much longer. If the Kevolution had not occurred, 
if these laws had not been changed, it is probable that a very 
much longer period would not have elapsed, before their repeal 
would have been desired by the aristocracy itself, as was the 
"Encumbered Estates Act" in Ireland, by its fine-blooded 
gentlemen, of Old Virginia habits, a few years since. Such 
pitiable calamity as Ireland suffered in the famine, is, perhaps, 
not possible in a country like Virginia ; but, if the old system 
had been pursued on a short time longer, there would have 
been nothing left for the people but to emigrate in a body, 
or be reduced to a common level of extreme destitution. 

But the revolutionary penance could only mitigate, not 
arrest, punitive justice, and, at length — at the close of 
the second war with England, which has occasioned a pro- 
tracted dullness in the demand for tobacco — the hand of 
inevitable Nemesis is manifest. Many of the old Colonial 
proprietors are now dead, the plantations are generally divided 
according to the new laws. The young men, brought up 
among the negroes — "nursed, educated, and daily exercised 
in tyranny," as Mr. Jefferson described them to be — with 
luxurious and vicious propensities, and irrestrainable passions, 
are not able to meet the demands of their habits, much less 
to pay the interest of the long accumulating debts of their 
families. The law no longer protects them from the honest 
claims of the despised merchants. Lands and negroes have 
been mortgaged. The sale of negroes, from time to time, to 

traders, who are now beginning to ship them off in con- 


siderable number, to the cotton plantations of the Southern 
Slave States, satisfies the most pressing demands for a few 
years, but only makes the ultimate catastrophe more accumu- 
lative and overwhelming. The end of the rope is finally 
reached, and the worn out and used up old plantations are 
going a begging for purchasers, like foundered horses, at any 
price which shall give bare freedom to the poor young cava- 
liers. The iniquity of aristocracy is visited upon the children 
and upon the children's children, unto the third and fourth 
generations, and, in the world's open market, the exact value of 
grandfathers is at length ascertained. 

The story is thus told by a Virginian in the Southern 
Planter : 

" Every farm was greatly impoverished — almost every estate was 
seriously impaired — and some were involved in debt to nearly their 
value. Most of the proprietors had died, leaving families in reduced 
circumstances, and in some cases in great straits. No farm, whether of 
a rich or a poor proprietor, had escaped great exhaustion, and no pro- 
perty great dilapidation, unless because the proprietor had at first been 
too poor to join in the former expensive habits of his wealthier 

* * * u There was nothing left to waste, but time and labor ; 
and these continued to be wasted in the now fruitless efforts to 
cultivate to profit, or to replace the fertility of soil which had been 
destroyed. Luxury and expense had been greatly lessened. But 
on that account "the universal prostration was even the more appa- 
rent. Many mansions were falling into decay. Few received any 
but trivial and indispensable repairs. No new mansion was erect- 
ed, and rarely any other farm-building of value. There was still 
generally prevailing idleness among proprietors ; and also an aban- 
donment of hope, which made every one desirous to sell his land and 
move to the fertile and far West, and a general emigration and 
dispersion was only prevented by the impossibility of finding pur- 
chasers for the lands, even at half the then low estimate of market 


And thus by Mr. Palfrey: 

" By-and-by the father dies, and the land and the hundred negroes, 
more or less, are divided equally among the children. The sons cannot 
live — at all events as they have been used to living — on a piece of ex- 
hausted tobacco-lands with a dozen or two of hands to till it. The pro- 
fessions are full ; the trades too vulgar for them ; they have no way to 
get a subsistence. They sell off the human-stock, and live off the pro- 
ceeds, as long as they last ; and then become borrowing loafers about, 
the Court-House tavern, or take their departure for parts unknown. 
Or they take to the Capitol, their only capital, long so well accredited 
there, of ' belonging to one of the first families in Virginia,' and get 
some small clerkship in one of the public offices, ." 


The Democratic system, so far as it was established by the 
Revolution, was limited in its scope to what had been previously 
the middle white class, and the aristocracy. Its first effect upon 
the latter I have shown to have been disastrous, but upon the 
great mass its operation must have been elevating and encourag- 
ing. Even during this very same period of aristocratic disper- 
sion, now known as the dark days of Virginia, because many 
flashing lights of her old gentry were then extinguished, I believe 
the condition of the major part of the people (leaving out of 
view, for the present, the slaves, and the politically debased 
whites), was steadily improving. There were more rising than 
falling men. 

Notwithstanding a constant emigration of the decayed fami- 
lies, and of the more enterprising of the poor, the population 
steadily augmented, though not so rapidly as in the adjoining 
more democratic States.* If the apparent wealth of the country 

* 1790 to 1810, population to eq. mile in Virginia increased from 10-68 to 13-92 
" " ' " " New York " 7-56 to 21-31 

" " " " Pennsylvania " 9-28 to 17-30 


was not increasing, the foundation of a greater material pros- 
perity was being laid, in the increase of the number of small, 
but intelligent proprietors, and in the constantly growing ne- 
cessity to abandon tobacco, and substitute grains, or varied 
crops, as the staple productions of the country. The very cir- 
cumstance that reduced the old pseudo-wealthy proprietors, was 
favorable to this change, and to the application of intelligence to 
a more profitable disposal of the remaining elements of wealth 
in the land. 

While multitudes abandoned their ancestral acres in despair, 
or were driven from them by the recoil of their fathers' incon- 
siderate expenditures, they were taken possession of by " new 
men," endowed with more hopefulness and energy, if not more 
intelligence than the old. Movement, though it be apparently 
downward, is evidence of life, and is stimulating to the mind. 
Every man who thought about it, saw that either tobacco must 
be given up, or its method of culture essentially modified, or 
that his land must continue to decrease in productive value. 
With the new proprietors this was a matter of more consequence 
than it had formerly been, because a larger proportion of their 
capital was now absorbed in the land they owned, proportion- 
ately to that in slaves. In an address of Mr. Madison, after- 
wards President of the Confederacy, before an Agricultural 
Society in Albemarle County, in 1819, the change then progress- 
ing in the economy of Virginia is thus alluded to : 

" Whilst there was an abundance of fresh and fertile soil, it was the 
interest of the cultivator to spread his labor over as great a surface as 
possible. Land being cheap, and labor dear, and the land cooperating 
powerfully with the labor, it was profitable to draw as much as possible 
from the land. Labor is now comparatively cheaper, and land dearer. 
It might be profitable, therefore, now, to contract the surface over which 


labor is spread, even if the soil retained its freshness and fertility. But 
this is not the case. Much of the fertile soils are exhausted, and unfer- 
tile soils are brought into cultivation ; and both cooperating less with 
labor in producing the crop, it is necessary to consider how far labor 
can be profitably exerted on them : whether it ought not to be applied 
towards making them fertile, rather than in further impoverishing them ; 
or whether it might not be more profitably applied to mechanical ope- 
rations, or domestic manufactures." 

Among men of capital, intelligence, and social habits* — for, 
without the stimulus of conversation or reading, improvements 
are accepted slowly — certain systematic methods of sustaining 
and improving landed estate began to prevail, immediately after 
the second war. Tobacco was given up, or cultivated only in its 
proper turn of a rotation ; artificial grasses were introduced, and, 
with the aid of gypsum, clover was made to grow upon the ex- 
hausted lands, and made use of as a green manure, to resuscitate 
them ; ambulatory pens, shifted yearly from field to field, came 
into use upon large farms, instead of the stationary central stock- 
yards, thus saving the great labor of hauling fodder and manure 
between them and distant fields, and doing away with the " in 
and out-field" system. Cattle and horses were fed a much 
longer period of the year than formerly, and by some they were 
excluded from the tillage lands altogether, the growth of weeds 
and grasses having been found to be of more value to plow in 
as manure, than to be pastured. 

Among American patriots of this period of our history, should 
always be classed John Taylor, of Caroline county, Virginia, the 
author of " Arator," and John S. Skinner, who, in 1819, com- 
menced at Baltimore, in Maryland, the publication of the first 
special agricultural journal in America. Other men, many of 
whose names are enrolled among those of our national states- 


men, were then united 'with them, in strenuous and concerted 
exertion, to give a better direction to the labor and agricultural 
capital of those States. 

The convalescence of Virginia agriculture, however, if conva- 
lescent it may be considered ever to have been, should more espe- 
cially be dated from the introduction of lime, as an application, 
in connection with better tillage, judicious rotations, and more 
frequent applications of dung and green crops, for the improve- 
ment of the land. And for this, Virginia is chiefly indebted 
to the study, experiments, preaching, and publications of Edmund 
Euffin. Mr. Kuffin was, for many years, .the editor of the 
Virginia Farmers' Register, but is best known as the author 
of " A Treatise on Calcareous Manures," than which no work 
on a similar subject has ever been published in Europe or 
America based on more scientifically careful investigation, and 
trusty, personal experience, or of equal practical value to 
those for whose benefit it was designed. 

But, cotemporaneously with the invigoration of the planting 
class, the depression of the tobacco market, and the introduction 
of these improvements in agriculture which promised so much 
for the future of the State, there entered a still more potent 
element into the direction of her destiny. This was occasioned 
by the increasing profit and extending culture of cotton in 
the more Southern States, which gave rise to a demand for 
additional labor, increased the value of slaves, and, the African 
Slave Trade having been declared piracy, led to a great exten- 
sion of the internal Slave Trade. 

The value of the cotton exported from the United States 


In 1194 $500,000 

1800 . 5,000,000 

1810, .' 15,000,000 

1820, 22,000,000 

1830, 30,000,000 

1840, 64,000,000 

1850, 72,000,000 

Closely corresponding to the increase in the exportation 
of cotton, was the growth of the demand for labor; and as, 
in any slave-holding community, experience shows no other 
labor can be extensively made use of but that of slaves, the 
value of slaves for sale has steadily advanced in Virginia, with 
the extension of cotton fields over the lands conquered or pur- 
chased for that purpose of the Indians in Alabama and Florida ; 
of France, in the valley of the Mississippi ; and of Mexico, in 

The effect of this demand for slaves was directly contrary 
to those influences which I have described as being the founda- 
tion of renewed agricultural energy in Virginia. It concen- 
* trated the interest of the planter in his slaves, as in old times 
it had been concentrated in tobacco ; the improvement, or even 
the sustentation of the value of his lands became a matter of 
minor importance ; the taste for improving husbandry, except 
among the men of leisure, capital, and highly-cultivated minds, 
was fatally checked. Mr. Euffin, a gentleman of ultra, and, 
it seems to a stranger, fanatical devotion to the perpetuation 
of slavery, yet otherwise a most sensible and reliable observer 

* That the people of California should have decided not to permit slaves to 
be sold also in that great acquisition to our territory, has been an intense 
disappointment to Virginia slave-holders ; and the influence of the State, for 
some time after this was determined, was very undecided with regard to further 
schemes of annexation. 



and thinker, unintentionally gives his evidence against the Slave 
Trade, by describing the effect of the increased value it gave to 
negroes : 

"A gang of slaves on a farm will increase to four times their original 
number in thirty or forty years. If a farmer is only able to feed and 
maintain his slaves, their increase in value may double the whole of his 
capital originally invested in farming before he closes the term of an 
ordinary life. But few farms are able to support this increasing 
expense, and also furnish the necessary supplies to the family of the 
owner ; whence very many owners of large estates, in lands and negroes, 
are, throughout their lives, too poor to enjoy the comforts of life, or to 
incur the expenses necessary to improve their unprofitable farming. A 
man so situated may be said to be a slave to his own slaves. If the 
owner is industrious and frugal, he may be able to support the increas- 
ing numbers of his slaves, and to bequeath them undiminished to his 
children. But the income of few persons increases as fast as their 
slaves, and, if not, the consequence must be that some of them will be 
sold, that the others may be supported, and the sale of more is perhaps 
afterwards compelled to pay debts incurred in striving to put off that 
dreaded alternative. The slave at first almost starves his master, and 
at last is eaten by him — at least, he is exchanged for his value in food." 

What a remarkable state of things is here pictured — the 
labor of a country almost exclusively applied to agriculture, 
and yet able to supply itself, but in few cases, with the coarsest 
food ! 

The interest of the slaves' owners being withdrawn, by their 
increasing value as transferable property, from their land, a 
gradual but rapid amelioration of their condition followed, as 
respects physical comfort. Since 1820, there has been a con- 
stant improvement in this respect. They are now worked no 
harder, in general, than is supposed to be desirable to bring 
them into high muscular and vital condition; they are better 
fed, clothed, and sheltered, and the pliant strap and scientific 


paddle have been substituted, as instruments of discipline, for 
the scoring lash and bruising cudgel.* 

No similar progress, it is to be observed, has been made in 
the mental and moral economy of Slavery in Virginia; the laws 
and customs being a good deal less favorable, than formerly, to 
the education of the race, which is sufficiently explainable. 
The opinion being prevalent — and, I suppose, being well-founded 
— that negro property, as it increases in intelligence, decreases 
in security ; as it becomes of greater value, and its security 
more important, more regard is naturally paid to the means of 
suppressing its ambition and dwarfing its intellect. 

Of course, this increased care of the slaves' physical well- 
being adds to the current expenditure of their master, and 
makes all operations, involving labor, cost more than formerly ; 
and, as its effect is to force more rapid breeding, and the 
number of slaves does not diminish, no corresponding en- 
couragement is obtained from it for free-labor. Consequently, 
the internal slave-trade makes the cost of labor greater, and its 
quality worse, precisely in proportion to its activity. This, as I 
pointed out in the last chapter, is the grand reason of the exces- 

* Hoa. Humphrey Marshall, of Kentucky, in his defense of Mat. Ward, thus 
describes the strap : 

"The strap, gentlemen, you are probably aware, is an instrument of refined mod- 
ern torture, ordinarily used in whipping slaves. By the old system, the cow-hide — 
a severe punishment — cut and lacerated them so badly as to almost spoil their sale 
when brought to the lower markets. But this strap, I am told, is a vast improve- 
ment in the art of whipping negroes ; and, it is said, that one of them may be pun- 
ished by it within one inch of his life, and yet he will come out with no visible 
injury, and his skin will be as smooth and polished as a peeled onion !" 

The paddle is a large, thin ferule of wood, in which many small holes are 
bored ; when a blow is struck, these holes, from the rush and partial exhaustion 
of ah - in them, act like diminutive cups, and the continued application of the 
instrument has been described to me to produce precisely such a result as that 
attributed to the strap by Mr. M. 


sively low market value of all real estate, and has occasioned 
the slow and stingy application of capital to mining and other 
industrial enterprises, in all other elements for the success of 
which Virginia is so exceedingly rich. 

It was, for a long time, generally expected that the 
demand of the cotton-planters would gradually draw off 
all the slaves from Virginia, and that the State would thus 
be redeemed to freedom. The objection which had been chiefly 
urged against Jefferson's scheme of emancipation, certainly. would 
have had less weight, during thirty years past, against a 
requirement that all slaves below mature age, remaining, after a 
certain future time, in the State, should be educated, freed, and 
transported ; for the owners, who could not afford to lose the 
value of their property, could, at any time, have sold away their 
slaves, at very much more than their cost price, before the 
requirement went into effect. 

It, therefore, became advisable to stigmatize such a proposition 
as tyrannical — to claim for a class the power of thus continuing 
to ruin the State, so long as they found in it their private profit, 
as a legal and vested right. On January 18, 1832, a member 
of the legislature, Mr. Gholson, proclaimed this, in the following 
cunning language. Be it observed that all existing nuisances, 
and those that are a part of them, are always called old- 
fashioned ; which, oddly enough under such circumstances, is 
considered equivalent to respectable. 

" It has always (perhaps erroneously) been considered, by steady and 
old-fashioned people, that the owner of land had a reasonable right to 
its annual profit, the owner of orchards to their annual fruits, * * 
and the owner of female slaves to their increase. * * It is on the justice 
and inviolability of this maxim that the master foregoes the service of 
the female slave, has her nursed and attended during the period of 


gestation, and raises the helpless infant offspring. The value of the 
property justifies the expense ; and I do not hesitate to say, that in its 
increase consists much of our wealth." 

That is to say, no law providing for the freedom of unborn 
generations is to be considered just ; consequently, Mr. Jeffer- 
son's scheme was agrarian and preposterous. 

The value of slaves for sale has, since then, pretty steadily 
advanced ; the exportation has as steadily augmented ; while the 
stock kept on hand is some three thousand more than it then 
was. The amiable letter-writer, whom the State of Jefferson now 
delights to honor, tells our simple New York Democrats, that 
if they had not been so foolish as to favor the admission of 
California as a Free State — if they had been able, as he desired, 
to force it to become a Slave State — it would have opened such 
a market for slaves as would have soon drained them all out 
of Virginia. 

I do not believe, if prime field-hands should ever sell for ten 
thousand dollars a head, there would be one negro less kept 
in Virginia than there is now, when they are worth but one 

How would this increasing demand be met, then % 

Very easily: by the re-importation of breeding-slaves from 
the consuming States. Connecticut exports bullocks and barren 
cows by the thousand annually ; and the drovers who take the 
working and fatted stock out, often drive back heifers from the 
districts in which the breeding of cattle is made less a matter 
of business, and is, therefore, less profitable than it is in that 
region of bleak pastures. 

It is an assertion often made, and generally credited, that it 
is only since the rise of the abolition agitation that the people of 


the South have shown a determined disposition to perpetuate 
Slavery — that in Virginia, especially, the people would, ere this, 
have abolished, or greatly modified it, if they had not been exas- 
perated to folly by the calumnious and impertinent meddling in 
the matter of those who had no business with it. 

I have always, until recently, taken the truth of this assertion 
for granted ; and have often, I am afraid, somewhat foolishly, 
repeated it. No doubt there is a certain basis of truth in it ; no 
doubt the abolition agitation in the Free States has been, and is 
in many respects, injudicious ; but I am induced to think this 
charge against it requires to be made with some reservation and 

It certainly is a curious coincidence — and it can hardly be 
thought a mere coincidence, it seems to me — that the general 
indisposition to emancipate slaves has been very closely propor- 
tionate to the expense, or loss of cash property, which would 
attend it. If an accurate yearly price-current of slaves since 
the Eevolution could be had, it would indicate the fluctuating 
probabilities of their general emancipation more exactly than 
the value of the English consolidated debt follows the varying 
prospects of peace or war. 

From the clay in which Jefferson inaugurated the agitation for 
the emancipation of the slaves, up to 1820, the Abolition party 
in Virginia, though it never succeeded in accomplishing the 
smallest of its legislative purposes, was strong in talent if not 
in number, and was in close fraternity and affiliation with the 
more successful party in the States now free.* At this time the 

* Benjamin Franklin was President, and George Washington and Thomas 
Jefferson correspondents, of the Abolition Society of Pennsylvania, of which 
Passmore Williamson, lately lying in jail, in Philadelphia, is the present Secretary. 


internal slave traffic was first recognized as a phenomena of 
pregnant importance ; and Randolph and other Virginians 
lamented it, and deplored its probable consequences in Con- 

There were then (1820) in Virginia no men of education and 
influence who were not slave-owners — and as such, pecuniarily- 
interested, more or less, in restraining legislation unfavorable to 
Slavery. During the next fifteen years, the Southern demand for 
slaves, and, consequently, their value as stock, constantly in- 
creasing, there would appear to have been a struggle between the 
consciences and the interests, or between the selfishness and the 
good judgment, of those who had constituted the anti-slavery 
influence of the State. Gradually the older and more powerful 
opponents of the perpetuation of the system passed off the field 
of action, and the younger were induced to accept what they 
found so increasingly profitable — at least, to be quiet, and leave 
its determined supporters to govern and represent the State. 

In 1830, Daniel Webster said, in the Senate : 

" I know full well, that it is, and has been, the settled policy of some 
persons in the South, for years, to represent the people of the North as 
disposed to interfere with them in their own exclusive and peculiar 
concerns. This is a delicate and sensitive point in Southern feeling ; 
and of late years, it has always been touched, and generally with effect, 
whenever the object has been to unite the whole South against North- 
ern men or Northern measures. This feeling, always carefully kept alive, 
and maintained at too intense a heat to admit discrimination or reflec- 
tion, is a lever of great power in our political machine. It moves vast 
bodies, and gives to them one and the same direction. But it is without 
adequate cause, and the suspicion which exists is wholly groundless." 

Remember that slave property still grew daily less productive, 
Jut more valuable. 


Two years after the above declaration of Mr. Webster, an 
important debate occurred in the Virginia Legislature, with 
regard to Slavery. The Anti-Slavery party may be said to have 
then made its last demonstration, and final protest, against the 
policy which now, far more distinctly than formerly, was de- 
fended and maintained as an established permanent policy: 
whether most from a spirit of resistance to an abolition agita- 
tion at the North, or at home, or from the increasing value of 
slaves, the reader will judge. 

On that occasion (in the Virginia Legislature, in the city of 
Richmond, fifty-six years after the Declaration of Independence), 
there were still not wanting some men who saw the evil of 
Slavery, and the rights of slaveholders in the same light that 
Jefferson, and Madison, and Mason, and Monroe, and Henry, 
and all the real statesmen of Virginia had done, and who were 
brave and magnanimous enough to utter their convictions. 
Thus, one Mr. Faulkner used the following language, especially 
significant in the italicised passage, of what he considered to 
be then the real obstacle in the way of measures for emanci- 
pation : 

" Slavery, it is admitted, is an evil. It is an institution which presses 
heavily against the best interests of the State. It banishes free white 
labor — it exterminates the mechanic, the artisan, the manufacturer. It 
converts the energy of a community into indolence ; its power into im- 
becility ; its efficiency into weakness. Being thus injurious, have we not 
a right to demand its extermination ? Shall society suffer that the slave- 
holder may continue to gather his vigintial crop of human flesh ? What 
is his mere pecuniary claim, compared with the great interests of the 
common weal ? Must the country languish and die, that the slaveholder 
may flourish ? Shall all interests be subservient to one ? Have not 
the middle classes their rights — rights incompatible with the existence 
of Slavery ? 


Mr. Brodnax : " That Slavery in Virginia is an evil, and a trans- 
cendent evil, it would be more than idle for any human being to doubt 
or deny. It is a mildew, which has blighted every region it has 
touched, from the creation of the world. Illustrations from the history 
of other countries and other times might be instructive ; but we have 
evidence nearer at hand, in the short histories of the different States of 
this great confederacy, which are impressive in their admonitions, and 
conclusive in their character." 

Mr. Summers : " Will gentlemen inform us when this subject will be- 
come less delicate — when it will be attended with fewer difficulties than 
at present — and at what period we shall be better enabled to meet them ? 
Shall we be more adequate to the end proposed, after the resources 
of the State have been yet longer paralyzed by the withering, deso- 
lating influence of our present system? Sir, every year's delay but 
augments the difficulties of this great business, and weakens our ability to 
compass it.'* 



Having suffered twenty-three years longer since this protest 
against her cherished policy was made in her Legislature, now 
at length has Virginia acquired the necessary strength and 
courage to undergo the painful operation necessary to free her 
from that chronic malady which, from the earliest period of her 
colonial infancy, has constantly debilitated and paralyzed her. 

She is further from it than ever. Like a poor man, rendered 
prematurely imbecile by his long endurance of pain, and who, 
conscious that every ' pretext against the application of the 
surgeon's relieving knife has been long since exhausted, 
finally, in unconquerable cowardice, discharges his faithful old 
family physician, feigns to despise his judgment, and throws 

* Speeches delivered in the House of Delegates of Virginia, in relation to 
her colored population, January, 1832. Richmond, printed by Thomas W. 


himself, in a flood of grateful tears, into the embrace of some 
contemptible, bragging quack, who pretends that his disease 
has hitherto been entirely misunderstood — who predicts that, 
under his care, he will soon be the strongest man in town — 
who diverts him with expensive nostrums, and amuses him 
by humorous descriptions of his own debilitated form and 
palsied movements ; so Virginia now insultingly spurns 
from her councils all who suggest that slavery is ever to 
be eradicated, and not one man is allowed to enter her 
Legislature who dares to declare and demand "the rights 
of the middle class," nay, even to supplicate for them; and 
if one should now petition for the passage of the amendment 
proposed by Jefferson, he would actually be in danger of losing 
his life. Such has been the influence of the extension of cotton 
culture and the demand for slaves in Virginia — such is the 
power of organized capital and educated wisdom, in a repub- 

Virginia has this year passed through an exciting election — 
the most so, probably, of any since the discussion of the Alien 
and Sedition Acts. It was preceded by a prolonged and very 
thorough canvass, with personal appeals to the conscience, the 
• patriotism, and especially to the pecuniary interests of the people, 
by the rival candidates and their friends. The successful can- 
didate is said to have made more than sixty addresses, in person, 
";o large assemblages of the electors convened to hear him 
describe the policy he desired to pursue, and his reasons for it. 

I have read with attention all the reports which I could 
obtain of these expositions, in order to judge from them what 
the people of Virginia now want or expect of their public 
servants. Among the passages which are represented by the 


reporters to have been received with great applause by the 
intelligent audience, on one occasion, are the following : 

" Commerce has long ago spread her sails, and sailed away from you. 
You have not, as yet, dug more than coal enough to warm yourselves 
at your own hearths ; you have set no tilt-hammer of Vulcan to strike 
blows worthy of gods in your own iron-foundries ; you have not yet 
spun more than coarse cotton enough, in the way of manufacture, to 
clothe your own slaves. 

" Tou have had no commerce, no mining, no manufactures. 

" Tou have relied alone on the single power of agriculture — and such 
agriculture ! Your sedge-patches outshine the sun. Your inattention 
to your only source of wealth has scared the very bosom of mother 
earth. Instead of having to feed cattle on a thousand hills, you have 
had to chase the stump-tailed steer through the sedge-patches to procure 
a tough beef-steak. (Laughter and applause.) 

" The present condition of things has existed too long in Virginia. 
The landlord has skinned the tenant, and the tenant has skinned the 
land, until all have grown poor together. I have heard a story — I will 
not locate it here or there — about the condition of the prosperity of 
our agriculture. I was told by a gentleman in Washington, not long 
ago, that he was traveling in a county not a hundred miles from this 
place, and overtook" one of our citizens on horseback, with, perhaps, a 
bag of hay for a saddle, without stirrups, and the leading line for a 
bridle, and he said : ' Stranger, whose house is that ?' ' It is mine,' was 
the reply. They came to another. ' Whose house is that V ' Mine, 
too, stranger.' To a third : 'And whose house is that V ' That's mine, 
too, stranger ; but don't suppose that I'm so darned poor as to own all 
the land about here.' (Laughter and applause.) We may own land, 
we may own slaves, we may own roadsteads and mines, we may have all 
the elements of wealth ; but unless we apply intelligence, unless we 
adopt a thorough system of instruction, it is utterly impossible that we 
can develop, as we ought to develop, and as Virginia is prepared now 
to do, and to take the line of march towards the very eminence of 
prosperity." (Applause and continued merriment.) 

And how does the fiddling Nero propose, it will be wondered, 

to remedy this so very amusing stupidity, poverty, and debility? 

Very simply and pleasantly. By building railroads and canals, 


ships and mills ; by establishing manufactories, opening mines, 
and setting up smelting-works and foundries. And " Hurrah !" 
shout the tickled electors ; " that's exactly what we want." 

Indeed, it is what they want; but how are they going to get 
it? one is next anxious to ascertain. This question is neither 
asked nor answered. The confirmed paralytic and dyspeptic 
pauper is told : "All you want is a good digestion. Take 
plenty of exercise, walk twenty miles a day, swing dumb-bells, 
box, fence, row, and hunt ; live generously ; breakfast on cutlets 
a la victime ; dine on salmon and venison with truffles ; sup on 
canvas-backs, and don't spare pure old port." "Ah! that's it; 
I'm satisfied you understand my complaint," whispers the poor, 
bed-ridden wretch ; " I put myself in your hands." " Good," 
returns the laughing charlatan ; " you are now prepared to 

The same sagacious candidate, in a similar strain of elo- 
quent mockery, depicts the intense ignorance which character- 
izes the people of Virginia ; and affects to deplore it, though 
when a member of Congress he used publicly to boast of it, 
and congratulate himself upon it, as preventing disagreeable dis- 
sensions in his constituency. Now he laments it, and ridi- 
cules it, and promises, if they will make him governor, he 
will set about remedying it. How? 

Actually, he has the impudence, as he stands there laugh- 
ing at them, to pretend an admiration for the educational 
scheme of Jefferson, and to promise to recommend its adop- 
tion by the State. 

And the poor mob appears to be imposed upon again; 
and, having a traditional confidence in the sincerity of Jeffer- 
son's democracy, they actually cheer him as if he was in earnest. 


" He was in earnest," will the reader say, if about the 
time this book comes out, his first message will be reported 
in the newspapers, as containing a recommendation redeem- 
ing his promise? 

Unless he also recommends — which I think would make an 
" activity" for a day or two in Wall street — Jefferson's sister 
scheme for the emancipation of the slaves, I should say, he was 
not in earnest, but was cruelly imposing again upon the igno- 
rance of the poor, quack-ridden " Democracy ;" for the Demo- 
cratic scheme of education, proposed by Jefferson, is as 
impracticable and fallacious when disconnected from that 
sister scheme of his, as, when associated with it, it is admi- 
rable and necessary to a truly Democratic system of political 

Every Virginian possessing the average American develop- 
ment of brain, and not quite demented with avarice, or doc- 
trinairism, must know this, if he has ever had any interest 
in the workings of the wretched attempts at public education 
employed in his State. 

In the year ending Sept. 30, 1851, there were in ninety-eight 
counties, the School Commissioners of which made reports as 
required by law, 55,312 indigent children, between eight and 
eighteen years old, needing special State aid, to enable them 
to attend any school. Besides this number, there were those 
of forty counties, and the towns of Norfolk, Portsmouth, 
Williamsburg and Wheeling, of which report was neglected 
to be made. In 125 counties but 30,324, less than half the 
immense body of pauper-children living in them, were enabled 
or induced to attend school at all ; and these (namely, the 
poor children mainly living nearest schools already established 


and supported by the wealthy for their own children), each on 
an average Only eleven weeks and one day (less than one-quarter 
of the year). This pitiable result was obtained at a cost to the 
State of sixty-nine thousand dollars. 

The Second Auditor's General Eeport on Education, from 
which I compile these facts, contains abstracts of sub-reports 
touching the working of the system then in operation, and 
which, I was assured by several worthy gentlemen in Kich- 
mond, was working most satisfactorily. These sub-reports were 
drawn up by the County School Commissioners and Superin- 
tendents, through whose hands what is called the Literary Fund 
is distributed. From them I shall make a few extracts, which 
will show how entirely impracticable — while the white popula- 
tion is so excessively distributed, as it needs must be, where 
there are many slaves — it will always be to contrive any 
valuable system of education for the families of those not able 
to pay for each scholar at a very high rate of tuition. 

Albemarle (White Population, 11,875 ; Slave do, 13,338). — "The 
Board of Commissioners state, that with the present appropriation to 
the county, they must be dependent upon the schools established by 
individual enterprise. They can, of course, proffer their assistance only 
where such schools exist." 

" Tour Superintendent would bring to your consideration the import- 
ance of recommending an increased per diem rate of tuition from four 
to five cents, as many of the best qualified teachers in the county object 
to take the indigent children into their schools on account of the 
reduced price per diem. He cannot furnish a synopsis of the proceed- 
ings of the Commissioners in the county, as very few reports have been 
furnished him." 

Amelia (Whites, 2,785 ; Slaves, 6.819 ; number of indigent children 
registered, 120 ; number of do., who attended school at any time within 
a year, 68). — No remarks. 

Buckingham (White Population, 5,426 ; Slave, 8,161). — " The Board 


of School Commissioners report, that some of the Commissioners are 
unable, for the want of schools, to expend the money allotted to their 
districts. They have no regular system of visiting the schools, nor do 
they, as a body, formally examine the teachers, leaving that to be done 
by those who patronize the schools. Neither have they established 
schools where none existed. The quota to this county is not sufficient 
to educate all the poor children. The number of children and the time 
they are sent to school, is discretionary with the district commission- 

Charlotte (White Population, 4,615 ; Slave, 8,988).— "The Super- 
intendent states that in three or four of the districts, schools could not be 
obtained, and in others the children could not be induced to go ; that it is 
utterly impossible to induce the district commissioners to have the ac- 
counts and reports made out according to form ; the consequence is, 
that there is a great difficulty in making the returns in due time." 

Clarke (Whites, 3,614 ; Slaves, 3,614). — " The Board has no regula- 
tions of a general character for the government of the district commis- 
sioners, as they have only acted in sessions of the Board. The schools 
are not visited by them, nor can they judge of the qualifications of the 
teachers, because, from the insufficiency of their quota, they are obliged 
to send the indigent children to such established schools as are most 
convenient to .the residence of the children." 

Fauquier (Whites, 9,875; Slaves, 10,350). — "The Commissioners 
would call attention to the inadequacy of the school quota of this 
county, for the tuition of the indigent children within its limits. They 
would further state, as the reason why they have not returned the 
number of poor children in their respective districts, that the duty is a 
very onerous one, and such as they are not able to perform without 
compensation, but that in the discharge of their duties they endeavor to 
aid the cause of education as much as they can, consistent with their 
own private interests, and are at all times ready to resign their trust 
to any who will perform the duties of the office more faithfully than 

Gloucester (Whites, 4,290 ; Slaves, 5,557). — " Some of the Commis- 
sioners have visited the schools in their districts, and are happy to state 
that there is a considerable improvement in the pupils, as well as in 
the management and the course of instruction on the part of the teach- 
ers. The school quota of this county is entirely insufficient to educate 
the indigent children. No preference is given to either sex." 


Goochland (Whites, 3,863 ; Slaves, 5,845). — No remarks by board of 
school commissioners. 

" The superintendent, as usual, has visited some of the schools, and has 
to say, that at some of them the scholars were progressing very well, 
whilst at others they were not doing so well as is desirable." 

Halifax (Whites, 10,916 ; Slaves, 14,452 ; poor children, 803 ; at- 
tended school, 378). — "The individual commissioners have occasionally 
visited the schools to which they entered indigent children, and found 
that the poor children were improving in their studies as well as other 
children. The teachers are well qualified to teach spelling, reading, 
writing, and arithmetic, which is all that can be hoped for that class. 
The annual appropriation from the treasury, to the primary schools of 
this county, is not more than half enough to educate all the indigent 

" They have no alterations to suggest in the present system. If any 
were made, it would not be to amend, but to make an entire alteration 
of the present system ; but they do not believe that the county would 
adopt such a system as they would recommend." 

Hanover (Whites, 6,539 ; Slaves, 8,393). — " The school commissioners 
have paid some attention to visiting the schools in their districts. The 
teachers are generally persons of good moral character, and capable of 
conducting schools of respectable grades. Indigent children improve 
as well as others, and are generally making good progress. 

" The commissioners have established several schools. They have aided 
in establishing others in neighborhoods where they could not otherwise 
have been established ; and others might have been established to great 
advantage but for the want of funds. There appears to be an increas- 
ing desire among indigent persons to have their children educated, but 
the quota of the Literary fund for this county is not half sufficient to 
educate all of them. We have found but little difficulty in getting 
indigent children to attend school, except amongst the most ignorant or 
degraded class. No general rule has been adopted by them for the 
selection of children to be sent to school, except what the law requires." 

Kapahannock (Whites, 5,642 ; Slaves, 3,844). — " The board of school 
commissioners state that the appropriation from the treasury is insuf- 
ficient to educate all the poor of the county, yet as there are many indi- 
gent children, whose parents cannot be prevailed upon to send them to 
school, they generally enter all the indigent children who will attend 


King William (Whites, 2,701 ; Slaves, 5,731). — " The commissioners 
report that such of the commissioners as have schools in their districts 
have visited them. They find the teachers well qualified to give instruc- 
tion in the common branches of an English education, and that the 
indigent children, for the time they attend school, learn as well as other 
children. The appropriation from the treasury is fully sufficient for all 
who are entered, and the commissioners enter as many of that class as 
they or the teachers can get to attend school." (Number of poor chil- 
dren returned, 246 ; number sent to school within the year, 66.) 

Naksemond (Whites, 5,424; Slaves, 4,715). — "A majority of 
the school commissioners find difficulty in getting indigent chil- 
dren to attend school regularly, principally owing to the schools not 
being located near them ; they sometimes send children to another dis- 
trict. Some of the commissioners have visited the schools, and are 
well satisfied with the qualifications of the teachers. The children that 
attend make very fair improvement. Children from eight to eighteen 
have been admitted to school without regard to sex. The commission- 
ers have not established any more schools, for want of funds ; they send 
to schools that have been established heretofore." 

Sussex (Whites, 3,086; Slaves, 5,992). — "The commissioners state that 
they have no power in regulating the government of the schools. The 
qualifications of the teachers they believe to be as good as the small 
sum which they possess will command. They have no choice generally 
in the selection of teachers — the scholars entered are taken by the teach- 
ers as objects of charity, and not for the compensation they receive. 
The fund being insufficient to educate the poor of the county, the com- 
missioners have made selections from among the children, giving the 
preference to those who would be most likely to attend the schools 

Southampton (Whites, 5,940 ; Slaves, 5,755). — " The commissioners 
state, that the funds appropriated are very inadequate to the education 
of the poor children of the county ; that not one-half of them attend 
school at all, and of those the most of them were at school but a small 
portion of the year ; that the parents of many were willing and anxious 
for their children to attend, but the teachers would not receive them, 
because there was nothing to pay for their tuition. They further state, 
that the irregular attendance of the poor children still continues to be one 
of the greatest difficulties they labor under in judiciously applying the 
funds allotted them ; and, in consequence of this, the school commissioner 


is very much embarrassed in distributing his quota among the schools 
of his district, and consequently in determining the number of days he 
should enter to each teacher, as he can form no correct idea, from the 
number of children, how many days they are likely to make." 

Powhatan ("Whites, 2,513 ; Slaves, 5,282). — No remarks. Number 
of poor children, 150 ; attended school, 60. 

I do n*ot mean to say that, if the people will submit to the 
necessary taxation, some enormously expensive system of educa- 
tion may not be adopted, which will be of great benefit to the 
State, and lead to a more rapid development of her resources, 
even though Slavery should still continue to separate, distract, 
and debilitate the associative energies of the indigent whites. I 
have not a doubt this can be done, and I sincerely trust it will be 
tried. But, except as an indirect step towards the abolition 
of Slavery, it will do hardly anything towards raising Virginia 
to an equality of intelligence with the Free States, or to that 
position of power and attractiveness which is indicated by her 
natural elements of wealth. 

Nor can anything do this, but a free, self-dependent, 
self-supporting, and self-respecting, intelligent laboring people. 
Whether the negroes can be made a part of such a people, I 
need not here give an opinion ; but I will say that I can see no 
evidence that they are advancing towards it, or that it is the 
general intention that they shall advance towards it. Whether, 
if the negroes were free, and remained as stupid, as helpless, as 
contented, as unhopeful and unambitious, and as indolent, as it is 
claimed they are at present, it would be possible to have any 
general population of white people of such a kind, I do not now 
care to answer. But I declare, with confidence, that it is evidently 
an absolute impossibility to havje such a people, and such a 
development of the State, or such a degree of intelligence among 


the mass of free people as, under a republic, it is of vital 
importance to secure to them, while a peculiar, degraded, 
pitiable, or despicable class, capable of being used only as the 
instruments of labor in the hands of a more intelligent, is by 
law expressly provided for, and not merely left unfurnished with 
education by the State, but expressly prevented from being 
educated, expressly prevented from striving to improve its own 
capacity of usefulness through the impulse to improve its status 
in society. While such a class is carefully conserved for the 
purposes of labor, good, careful, high-spirited and high-purposed 
men, disposed to turn their own honest labor to good account, 
will avoid or go out from such a labor-market ; and only bad, 
mean, low-minded, careless, and poor laboring people will come 
to it, or stay in it. So it always has been : so it is now. 

So much for the remedieswhich the new governor imposes upon 
the people of Virginia, for the evils under which the State suffers. 

What little he has time to say, directly of Slavery, he says 
only as the champion and advocate, before the electors at large, 
of the interests of the slaveholders, and in denunciation and de- 
fiance of those who may dare doubt the necessity of making 
that interest paramount to all others in the nation. But to the 
slaveholders themselves he especially commends himself, by the 
assertion, that if he could have had his way, California would 
have been a Slave State, and in that case slaves would have 
been worth five thousand dollars a-piece ! 

I know not much about Louis Blanc, except that he is very 
much detested by most people, and especially by the aristocracy 
and the stock-brokers of Europe, but I saw something which he 
said lately to the continental democratic refugees in England, 
which seems to me in itself true and good. 


" The republican form of government is not the object : the object is, 
to restore to the dignity of human nature those whom the excess of 
poverty degrades, and to enlighten those whose intelligence, from want 
of education, is but a dim, vacillating lamp, in the midst of darkness ; 
the object is to make him that works enjoy all the fruits of his work ; 
the object is to enfranchise the people, by endeavoring gradually to 
abolish this double slavery — ignorance and misery. A very difficult 
task, indeed, the accomplishment of which requires long study, deep 
meditation, and something more than discipline ! As to the republican 
form of government, it is a means, most valuable, certainly, and which 
we ought to strive to conquer, even at the cost of life, but which it is 
very imprudent to mistake for the aim, as the consequence might be to 
make us take the shadow for the substance, and run through a heap of 
ruins io fatal delusions." 

I think this mistake -has been made by the Virginia experi- 
menters : the republican form of government has certainly failed 
to restore to much dignity of human nature that part of her 
population degraded by excess of poverty, or to very materially 
enlighten those whose intelligence, for want of education, was 
dim and vacillating. I think, also, the people of Virginia have 
been running very fast through their " heap of ruins, towards 
fatal delusions " — fatal delusions, already warmly embraced, as 
will presently be seen. 

The Richmond Examiner and the Richmond Enquirer are the 
chief organs of those who lead the long dominant party 
of Virginia. They are conducted with more talent than any 
other journals of the State, and each receives a very much larger 
income from its subscribers than does any newspaper in the 
State which now ever distinctly admits Slavery to be an evil, 
desirable or possible to be remedied. 

From the Richmond Enquirer, Sept. 6, 1855. 
" "We are happy to find that others of our Southern cotemporaries are 


"willing to discuss (?) the true and great question of the day — The exist- 
ence of Slavery as a permanent institution in the South. 

" Every moment's additional reflection but convinces us of the abso- 
lute impregnability of the Southern position on this subject. Facts, 
which cannot be questioned, come thronging in support of the true 
doctrine — that Slavery is the best condition of the black race in this 
country, and that the true philanthropists should rather desire that race 
to remain in a state of servitude, than to become free, with the privileges 
of becoming worthless. * * * The Virginians need not be told that, as 
a class, there is not a more worthless or dissolute set of men than these 
free negroes. Our slaves, even, look upon most of them with contempt, 
and speak of them with a sneer. They deserve it. There are some few 
honorable exceptions — but, as a class, they are the most despicable 
characters our State contains. This is not peculiar to Virginia. In 
the Northern States as well as in the Southern — indeed, everywhere — 
this is the true state of facts ; and we were not surprised, therefore, to 
see a free State refuse admission to the Randolph negroes. Without, 
then, going the length of declaring that Slavery in the abstract — Slavery 
everywhere — is a blessing to the laboring classes, may we not candidly 
and calmly, and upon the matures! and soberest reflection, say that to 
the black race of the Union it is a blessing, and perhaps the greatest 
blessing we can now confer upon them ?" 

From the Richmond Examiner, 1854. 

" It is all a hallucination to suppose that we are ever going to get 
rid of African Slavery, or that it will ever be desirable to do so. It 
is a thing that we cannot do without, that is righteous, profitable, and 
permanent, and that belongs to Southern society as inherently, intri- 
cately, and durably as the white race itself. Tea, the white race will 
itself emigrate from the Southern States to Africa, California, or Poly- 
nesia, sooner than the African. 

Let us make up our minds, therefore, to put up with and make the most 
of the institution. Let us not bother our brains about what Providence 
intends to do with our negroes in the distant future, but glory in and 
profit to the utmost by what He has done for them in transplanting them 
here, and setting them to work on our plantations. Let the politicians 
and planters of the South, while encouraging the ' Baptists and Metho- 
dists,' (and other denominations having a less number of votes), in Chris- 
tianizing the negro, keep their slaves at hard work, under strict disci- 


pline, out of idleness and mischief, while they live ; and, when they come 
to die, instead of sending them off to Africa, or manumitting them to a 
life of "freedom," licentiousness, and nuisance, will them over to their 
children, or direct them to be sold where they will be made to work 
hard, and be of service to their masters, and to the country. True phi- 
lanthropy to the negro, begins, like charity, at home ; and if Southern 
men would act as if the canopy of heaven were inscribed with a cove- 
nant, in letters of fire, that the negro is here, and here forever ; is our pro- 
perty, and ours forever ; is never to be emancipated ; is to be kept hard at 
work, and in rigid subjection all his days ; and is never to go to Africa, 
to Polynesia, or to Yankee Land (far worse than either) , they would 
accomplish more good for the race in five years than they boast the 
institution itself to have accomplished in two centuries, and cut up by 
the roots a set of evils and fallacies that thi-eaten to drive the white race 
a wandering in the western wilderness, sooner than Cuffee will go to 
preach the Gospel in Guinea." 

I think these notions, if the policy of the State shall continue 
in accordance with them, will be proved to the satisfaction of all 
Northerners — all who do not trade with Virginia, at least — to be 
delusions, and fatal ones, before another seventy-nine years of 
the Republic is accomplished. 

And th,at these papers do give a fair expression to the views 
and purposes of the present governing influence in Virginia, 
there is every reason to believe. Not of the majority of the 
people — they are not quite so demented yet — but of the majo- 
rity of those whose monopoly of wealth and knowledge has a 
governing influence on a majority of the people : in a word, of 
those among_ the educated and wealthy slaveholders, whose 
combined patronage and talent, applied with an energy and 
facility for political labor, unknown to the more conscientious 
and liberal, is sufficient to make everybody else's interest 
dependent upon and subservient to their own. 

There are certainly, in the State of Virginia, a very large 


number of voters, strongly desirous, either from selfish or 
other motives, that the State should be freed from Slavery. 
I have conversed with enough myself almost to form a respect- 
able party; and if a party, for that purpose, could once be 
thoroughly organized and equipped, and its aims well adver- 
tised, I have not the least doubt that a majority of the voters 
of the State would rejoice to enlist in it. But, suppose a man 
could have been found, with the necessary audacity to offer 
himself as a candidate to the people on this ground, in 
opposition alike to the Know Nothings and those who, 
with artful absurdity, assumed the name of Democrats, at 
the late election. There is not, probably, one newspaper 
in the State that could have afforded to support him. If 
there is, it is published at a manufacturing town, and within 
a stone's throw of a free State, and where, consequently, there 
are few, if any, resident slave-owners. If he had attempted 
to make the rural population acquainted with his plan, he 
would have had to do so, literally, by hunting them up, one 
by one. All the ordinary means of collecting assemblages 
would have been denied hirn, or he would have been able to 
make use of them only at very unusual expense. The poor 
traders and mechanics could not generally have afforded to 
listen to him, much less to vote for him, because, there being 
no vote by ballot in Virginia, it would be immediately known ; 
they would be denounced as Abolitionists, and, at least, the 
slaveholders, who are their most valued customers, would decline 
employing men who so opposed their interests. Under these 
circumstances, with all the newspapers and bar-room orators, 
and many of the pulpits industriously coupling the audacious 
candidate's purposes with every ridiculous and detestable doo 


trine, scheme, and ''ism," to which a name has ever been 
fixed, it would appear, to the most conscientious and earnest" 
opponent of Slavery, who yet gives himself the vexation and 
loss of remaining in the State, a perfect waste of his vote to 
give it to a man so evidently unable to command a general 
vote of any significance ; and he would determine, probably, 
to give it where it would tell against the least objectionable 
of the candidates who stood some chance of being successful. 
If I had been a Virginian, I should have voted myself for the 
gasconading mountebank who was elected governor, ambitious 
and expert for mischief as he certainly is, because I should have 
been conscientiously bound to prevent, as far as my vote would 
do it, the success of a party more directly opposed to Demo- 
cratic principles than is that which disgraced itself by allowing 
him to be nominated as the exponent of its strength. 

It can only be by affiliating itself with a party of great 
strength and success at the North, that a party opposed to the 
interest of the Slave stock-jobbers can get upon its legs in any 
Slave State. It must have a prestige of national success, to 
encourage the immense labor of sufficient organization for 
local success. Only by a resolute determination of the thinking 
men of the Democratic party in the free States, not to be driven 
from the Jeffersonian creed upon Slavery, can the Democratic 
party in Virginia be made responsive to the wants of the 
common people, or otherwise than obstructive in its action to 
their prosperity. 


Bail-roads and guano seem, just now, to give much life 
and improvement to Virginia. 


Kail-roads, badly as they are managed, must encourage activity 
and punctuality in the people, besides increasing the value of 
exports of the country through which they pass, and diminish- 
ing the cost of imports by lessening the above-sea freightage 
expenses. Beside which, they cannot be prevented from dis- 
seminating intelligence and stirring thought, and in this way 
they will do more than any school-system at present possible. 

Guano not only increases the immediate crops, to which it 
is applied, very profitably, but may be. made the means of 
rapidly and permanently restoring the fertility of exhausted 
soils. Where judiciously employed, as it is by most men 
of wealth and education, it will do much good ; where ignor- 
antly or improvidently employed, with a thought only of imme- 
diate returns, it will probably lead to a still greater exhaustion 
of the soil, and lessen the real Avealth of the poor farmer. 
Thus it would seem likely to better the wealthy and intelligent, 
and eventually injure the lower class. It must be added that 
there is now a very strong and most judiciously conducted 
State Agricultural Society, and one of the best agricultural 
journals in the United States (the Southern Planter} is published 
at Richmond. 

The Constitution of the State has been democratized lately, 
so that poor people may vote, but no sufficient system of 
instruction has been instituted ; and, though great promises are 
now made, it is probable, as I have shown, that, while Slavery 
lasts, there never can be. The majority of the people will, 
therefore, continue to be amused and used by greedy and 
ambitious speculators in politics ; and, unless the West is more 
intelligent than it has thus far shown itself to be, the State 
will yet, for an indefinite time, be wholly ruled by the slave- 


holders, and everything else "will continue, as heretofore, to he 
sacrificed to what they suppose to be their interests. 

But, on the whole, the condition of the people has certainly 
improved, since the Eevolution, both in comfort and in intelli- 
gence; less so, very much, than in the Free States, yet very 

The diffusion of intelligence, and, with it, of wealth, is likely 
to be even more rapid in future, and must be expected, eventu- 
ally, to result in a revolution and reorganization of society, with 
Free Trade in Labor as its corner-stone. "Whether this pro- 
cess shall be spasmodic and bloody, or gradual and peaceful, 
will depend on the manner in which it is resisted. It may come 
this century, it may come the next. The sooner the better, if 
broader and more important interests are not too greatly endan- 
gered. For, if soon, Virginia might yet be the most attractive 
field of enterprise and industry in America, and would rapidly be 
occupied by an ambitious and useful laboring population — the 
parent of an intelligent and respectable people. 

As things are, citizens of the free States, especially needing 
good land on which to use their labor, with a mild climate, and 
other advantages available in Virginia, might, perhaps, colonize 
in the vicinity of rail-roads, or of the Ohio, and its navigable 
tributaries, with advantage, if they could settle together in suffi- 
cient numbers to give business to various kinds of industry. 
Under no other circumstances can I recommend any one in the 
free States to choose in Virginia a residence for a family, unless 
a move southward be deemed peculiarly desirable, as offering a 
chance to prolong life, imperiled in our harsher atmospheres. 




The largest and best hotel in Norfolk had been closed, 
shortly before I was there, from want of sufficient patronage 
to sustain it, and I was obliged to go to another house which, 
though quite pretending, was very shamefully kept. The land- 
lord paid scarcely the smallest attention to the wants of his 
guests, turned his back when inquiries were made of him, 
and replied insolently to complaints and requests. His slaves 
were far his superiors in manners and morals ; but, not being 
one quarter in number what were needed, and consequently 
not being able to obey one quarter of the orders that were 
given them, their only study was to disregard, as far as they 
would be allowed to, all requisitions upon their time and 
labor. The smallest service could only be obtained by bully- 
ing or bribing. I had to make a bargain for every clean 
towel that I got during my stay. 

I was first put in a very small room, in a corner of the 
house, next under the roof. The weather being stormy, 
and the roof leaky, water was frequently dripping from the 
ceiling upon the bed and driving in at the window, so as to 
stand in pools upon the floor. There was no fire-place in 


the room ; the ladies' parlor was usually crowded by ladies 
and their friends, among whom I had no acquaintance, and, 
as it was freezing cold, I was obliged to spend most of my 
time in the stinking bar-room, where the landlord, all the time, 
sat with his boon companions, smoking and chewing and talk- 
ing obscenely. 

This crew of old reprobates frequently exercised their indig- 
nation upon Mrs. Stowe, and other " Infidel abolitionists ;" 
and, on Sunday, having all attended church, afterwards mingled 
with their ordinary ribaldry laudations of the " evangelical" 
character of the sermons they had heard. 

On the night I arrived, I was told that I would be pro- 
vided, the next morning, with a room in which I could have 
a fire, and a similar promise was given me every twelve 
hours, for five days, before I obtained it ; then, at last, I had 
to share it with two strangers. 

When I left, the same petty sponging operation was 
practiced upon me as at Petersburg. The breakfast, for 
which half a dollar had been paid, was not ready until an 
hour after I had been called; and, when ready, consisted of 
cold salt fish ; dried slices of bread and tainted butter ; 
coffee, evidently made the day before and half re-warmed ; 
no milk, the milkman not arriving so early in the morning, 
the servant said ; and no sooner was I seated than the choice 
was presented to me, by the agitated book-keeper, of going 
without such as this, or of losing the train and so being obliged 
to stay in the house twenty-four hours longer. 

Of course I dispensed Avith the breakfast, and hurried off with 
the porter, who was to take my baggage on a wheel-barrow 
to the station. The station was across the harbor, in Ports- 


mouth. Notwithstanding all the haste I could communicate 
to him, we reached the ferry-landing just as the boat left, 
too late by three seconds. I looked at my watch ; it lacked 
but twenty minutes of the time at which the landlord and the 
book-keeper and the breakfast-table waiter and the rail-road 
company's advertisements had informed me that the train 
left. " Nebber mine, masser," said the porter, " dey wont go 
widout 'ou — Baltimore boat haant ariv yet, dey doan go 
till dat come in, sueh." 

Somewhat relieved by this assurance, and by the arrival of 
others at the landing, who evidently expected to reach the 
train, I went into the market and bought a breakfast from 
the cake and fruit stalls of the negro-women. 

In twenty minutes the ferry-boat returned, and after wait- 
ing some time at the landing, put out again ; but when mid- 
way across the harbor, the wheels ceased to revolve, and for 
fifteen minutes we drifted with the tide. The fireman had 
been asleep, the fires had got low, and the steam given out. 
I observed that the crew, including the master or pilot, and 
the engineer, were all negroes. 

We reached the rail-road station about half an hour after the 
time at which the train should have left. There were, several 
persons, prepared for traveling, waiting about it, but there 
was no sign of a departing train, and the ticket-office was 
not open. I paid the porter, sent him back, and was added 
to the number of the waiters. 

The delay w T as for the Baltimore boat, which arrived in 
an hour after the time the train was advertised, uncondition- 
ally, to start, and the first forward movement was more than 
an hour and a half behind time. A brakeman told me this 


delay was not very unusual, and that an hour's waiting might 
be commonly calculated upon with safety. 

The distance from Portsmouth to Welden, N. C, eighty 
miles, was run in three hours and twenty minutes — twenty- 
five miles an hour. The road, which was formerly a very 
poor and unprofitable one, was bought up a few years ago, 
mainly, I believe, by Boston capital, and reconstructed in a 
substantial manner. The grades are light, and there are few 
curves. Fare 2f cents a mile. 

At a way-station, a trader had ready a company of negroes, 
intended to be shipped South ; but the " servants' car" being 
quite full already, they were obliged to be left for another train. 
As we departed from the station, I stood upon the platform of 
the rear car with two other men. One said to the other : — 
. " That's a good lot of niggers." 

" .Damn'd good f I only wished they belonged to me." 

I entered the car and took a seat, and presently they followed, 
and sat near me. Continuing their conversation thus com- 
menced, they spoke of their bad luck in life. One appeared to 
have been a bar-keeper ; the other an overseer. One said the 
highest wages he had ever been paid were two hundred dollars a 
year, and that year he hadn't laid up a cent. Soon after, the 
other, speaking with much energy and bitterness, said : 

"I wish to God old Virginny was free of all the niggers." 

" It would be a good thing if she was." 

"Yes, sir; and, I tell you, it would be a damn'd good thing 
for us poor fellows." 

" I reckon it would, myself." 

When we stopped at Weldon, a man was shouting from a 


stage-coach, "passengers for G-aston! Hurry up! Stage is 
waiting !" As lie repeated this the third time, I threw up to him 
my two valises, and proceeded to climb to the box, to take my 

" You are in a mighty hurry, aint ye !" 

"Didn't you say the stage was waiting?" 

" If ye'r goin' ter get any dinner to-day, you'd better get it 
here; won't have much other chance. Be right smart about 
it, too." 

" Then you are not going yet?" 

"You can get yer dinner, if ye want to." 

" You'll call me, will you, when you are ready to go V 

"I shan't go without ye, ye needn't be afeard — go 'long 
in, and get yer dinner ; this is the place, if anywar ; — don't 
wan't to go without yer dinner, do ye ?" 

Before arriving at Weldon, a handbill, distributed by the pro- 
prietors of this inn, had been placed in my hands, from which 
I make the following: extracts : 

" We pledge our word of honor, as gentlemen, that if the fare at our 
table be inferior to that on the table of our enterprising competitor, we 
will not receive a cent from the traveler, but relinquish our claims to 
pay, as a merited forfeit, for what we would regard as a wanton impo- 
sition upon the rights and claims of the unsuspecting traveler. 

" We have too much respect for the Ladies of our House, to make even 
a remote allusion to their domestic duties in a public circular. It will not, 
however, be regarded indelicate in us to say, that ,the duties performed 
by them have been, and are satisfactory to us, and, as far as we know, 
to the public. And we will only add, in this connection, that we 
take much pleasure in superintending both our " Cook-House" and 
Table in person, and in administering in person to the wants of our 

"We have made considerable improvements in our House of late, and 


those who wish to remain over at Weldon, will find, with us, airy rooms, 
clean beds, brisk fires, and attentive a ad orderly servants, with abun- 
dance of FRESH OYSTERS during the season, and every necessary 
and luxury that money can procure. 

" It is not our wish to deceive strangers nor others ; and if, on visiting 
our House, they do not find things as here represented, they can publish 
us to the world as impostors, and the ignominy will be ours." 

Going in to the house, I found most of the passengers by the 
train at dinner, and the few negro boys and girls in too much 
of a hurry to pay attention to any one in particular. The only 
palatable viand within my reach was some cold sweet-potatoes ; 
of these I made a slight repast, paid the landlord, who stood 
like a sentry in the doorway, half a dollar, and in fifteen 
minutes, by my watch, from the time I had entered, Avent out, 
anxious to make sure of my seat on the box, for the coach was 
so small that but one passenger could be conveniently carried 
outside. The coach was gone. 

" 0, yes, sir," said the landlord, hardly disguising his satis- 
faction ; " gone — yes, sir, some time ago ; you was in to dinner, 
was you, sir — pity ! you'll have to stay over till to-morrow now, 
won't you?" 

"I suppose so," said I, hardly Avilling to give up my intention 
to sleep in Raleigh that night, even to secure a clean bed and 
fresh oysters. "Which road does the stage go upon?' 

" Along the county road." 

" Which is that — this way through the woods ?" 

"Yes, sir. — Carried off your baggage, did he? — Pity! Sup- 
pose he forgot you. Pity !" 

" Thank you — yes, I suppose he did. Is it a pretty good 

" No, sir, 'taint first-rate — good many pretty bad slews. You 


might go round by the Petersburg Kail-road, to-morrow. You'd 
overtake your baggage at Gaston." 

" Thank you. It was not a very fast team, I know. I'm 
going to take a little run ; and, if I shouldn't come back before 
night, you needn't keep a bed for me. Good day, sir." 

I am pretty good on the legs for a short man, and it didn't 
take me long, by the pas gymnastique, to overtake the coach. 

As I came up, the driver hailed me — 

"Hallo! that you V 3 

" Why did not you wait for me, or call me when you wanted 
to go, as you promised ?" 

"Beckoned ye was inside — didn't look in, coz I asked if 
'twas all right, and somebody — this 'ere gentleman, here" — 
(who had got my seat) " ' Yes,' says he, ' all right ;' so I 
reckoned 'twas, and driv along. Mustn't blame me. Ortn't to 
be so long swallerin' yer dinner — mind, next time !" 

The road was as bad as anything, under the name of a road, 
can be conceived to be. Wherever the adjoining swamps, fallen 
trees, stumps, and plantation fences would admit of it, the coach 
was driven, with a great deal of dexterity, out of the road. 
When the wheels sunk in the mud, below the hubs, we were 
sometimes requested to get out and walk. An upset seemed 
every moment inevitable. At length, it came ; and the driver, 
climbing on to the upper side, opened the door, and asked, with 
an irresistibly jolly drawl — 

"Got mixed up some in here then, didn't ye? Ladies, hurt 
any? Well, come, get out here; don't wan't to stay here all 
night I reckon, do ye ? — Aint nothing broke, as I see. We'll 
right her right up. Nary durn'd rail within a thousan' mile, I don't 
s'pose ; better be lookin' roun' ; got to get somethin' for a pry." 


In four hours after I left the hotel at Weldon, the coach 
reached the bank of the Boanoke, a distance of fourteen miles, 
and stopped. "Here we are," said the driver, opening the door. 

" Where are we — not in Gaston V 

" Durned nigh it. That ere's Gaston, over thar ; and you just 
holler, and they'll corne over arter you in the boat." 

Gaston was a mile above us, and on the other side of the 
river. Nearly opposite to where we were was a house, and a 
scow drawn up on the beach ; the distance across the river was, 
perhaps, a quarter of a mile. When the driver had got the 
luggage off, he gathered his reins, and said : 

" Seems to me them gol-durned lazy niggers aint a goin' to 
come over arter you now ; if they won't, you'd better go up to 
the rail-road bridge, some of ye, and get a boat, or else go down 
here to Free-town ; some of them cussed free niggers '11 be 
glad of the job, I no doubt." 

" But, confound it, driver ! you are not going to leave us here, 
are you ? we paid to be carried to Gaston." 

" Can't help it ; you are close to Gaston, any how, and if any 
man thinks he's goin' to hev me drive him up to the bridge to- 
night, he's damnably mistaken, he is, and I ain't a goin' to do 
it, not for no man, I ain't." 

And away he drove, leaving usj all strangers, in a strange 
country, just at the edge of night, far from any house, to 
" holler." 

The only way to stop him was to shoot him ; and, as we were 
all good citizens, and traveled with faith in the protection of the 
law, and not like knights-errant, armed for adventure, we could 
not do that. 

Good citizens? No, we were not; for we have all, to this 


day, neglected to prosecute the fellow, or his employers. It 
would, to be sure, have cost us ten times any damages we should 
have been awarded ; but, if Ave had been really good citizens, we 
should have been as willing to sacrifice the necessary loss, as 
knights-errant of old were to risk life to fight bloody giants. 
And, until many of us can have the nobleness to give ourselves 
the trouble and expense of killing off these impudent highway- 
men of our time, at law, we have all got to suffer in their 
traps and stratagems. 

We soon saw the " gol-durned lazy niggers " come to their 
scow, and after a scrutiny of our numbers, and a consultation 
among themselves, which evidently resulted in the conclusion 
that the job wouldn't pay, go back. 

When it began to grow dark, leaving me as a baggage-guard, 
the rest of the coach's company walked up the bank of the river, 
and crossed by a rail-road bridge to Gaston. One of them after- 
wards returned with a gang of negroes, whom he had hired, and 
a large freight-boat, into which, across the snags which lined the 
shore, we passed all the baggage. Among the rest, there were 
some very large and heavy chests, belonging to two pretty 
women, who were moving, with their effects ; and, although they 
remained in our company all the next day, they not only 
neglected to pay their share of the boat and negro-hire, but 
forgot to thank us, or even gratefully to smile upon us, for our 
long toil in the darkness for them. 

Working up the swollen stream of the Eoanoke, Avitk setting- 
poles and oars, Ave at length reached Gaston. When I bought 
my tickets at the station in Portsmouth, I said : " I will take 
tickets to any place this side of Ealeigh at which I can arrive 

before night. I wish to avoid traveling after dark." "You can 


go straight through to Ealeigh, before dark," said the clerk. 
" You are sure of that V " Yes, sir." On reaching Gaston, I 
inquired at what time the train for Ealeigh had passed: "At 
three o'clock." According to the advertisement, it should have 
passed at two o'clock ; and, under the most favorable circum- 
stances, it could not have been possible for us, leaving Ports- 
mouth at the time we did, to reach Gaston before four o'clock, 
or Ealeigh in less than twenty-eight hours after the time pro- 
mised. The next day, I asked one of the rail-road men how 
often the connection occurred, which is advertised in the North- 
ern papers, as if it were a certain thing to take place at Gaston. 
" Not very often, sir ; it hain't been once, in the last two weeks." 
Whenever the connection is not made, all passengers whom these 
rail-road freebooters have drawn into their ambush, are obliged 
to remain over a day, at Gaston ; for, as is to be supposed, with 
such management, the business of the road will support but one 
train a day. 

The route by- sea, from Baltimore to Portsmouth, and thence 
by these lines, is advertised as the surest, cheapest, and most 
expeditious route to Ealeigh. Among my stage companions, 
were some who lived beyond Ealeigh. This was Friday. They 
would now not reach Ealeigh till Saturday night, and such as 
could not conscientiously travel on Sunday, would be detained 
from home two days longer than if they had come the land 
route. One of them lived some eighty miles beyond Ealeigh, 
and intended to proceed by a coach, which was to leave Saturday 
morning. He would probably be now detained till the following 
Wednesday, as the coach left Ealeigh but twice a week. 

The country from Portsmouth to Gaston, eighty miles, partly 


in Virginia, and partly in North Carolina, is almost all pine 
forest, or cypress swamp ; and on the little land that is cultivated, 
I saw no indication of any other crop than maize. The soil is 
light and poor. Between Weldon and Gaston there are heavier 
soils, and we passed several cotton fields, and substantial 
planters' mansions. On the low, flat lands bordering the 
banks of the Roanoke, the soil is of the character of that of 
James river, fine, fertile, mellow loam ; and the maize crop 
seemed to have been heavy. 


Gaston is a village of some twenty houses, shops and cabins, 
besides the rail-road store-houses, the hotel, and a nondescript 
building, which may be either a fancy barn, or a little church, 
getting high. From the manner in which passsengers are forced, 
by the management of the trains arriving here, to patronize it, the 
hotel, I presume, belongs to the rail-road companies. It is ill- 
kept, but affords some entertainment from its travesty of certain 
metropolitan vulgarities. I was chummed with a Southern gentle- 
man, in a very small room. Finding the sheets on both our beds 
had been soiled by previous occupants, he made a row about it 
with the servants, and, after a long delay, had them changed ; 
then, observing that it was probably the mistress's fault, and not 
the servants', he paid the negro whom he had been berating, for 
his trouble. 


Among our inside passengers, in the stage-coach, was a free 
colored woman ; she was treated in no way differently from the 
white ladies. My room-mate said this was entirely customary 




at the South, and no Southerner would ever think of objecting 
to it. Notwithstanding which, I have known young Southerners 
to get very angry because negroes were not excluded from the 
public conveyances in which they had taken passage themselves, 
at the North ; and I have always supposed that when they were 
so excluded, it was from fear of offending Southern travelers, 
more than anything else. 

A South Carolina View of the Subject. (Correspondence of Willis's 
Musical World, New York). 

" Charleston, Dec. 31. 

" I take advantage of the season of compliments (being a subscriber 
to your invaluable sheet) , to tender you this scrap, as a reply to a piece 
in your paper of the 17th ult.,with the caption : 'Intolerance of colored 
persons in New York.' The piece stated that up-town families (in New 
York) objected to hiring colored persons as servants, in consequence of 
' conductors and drivers refusing to let them ride in city cars and omni- 
buses,' and colored boys, at most, may ride on the top. And after 
dwelling on this, you say, ' shame on such intolerant and outrageous 
prejudice and persecution of the colored race at the North !' You then 
say, ' even the slaveholder would cry shame upon us.' You never 
made a truer assertion in your life. For you first stated that they 
were even rejected when they had white children in their arms. My 
dear friend, if this was the only persecution that your colored people 
were compelled to yield submission to, then I might say nothing. Are 
they allowed (if they pay) to sit at the tables of your fashionable 
hotels ? Are they allowed a seat in the ' dress circle,' at your operas ? 
Are they not subject to all kinds of ill treatment from the whites ? Are 
they not pointed at, and hooted at by the whites (natives of the city), 
when dressed up a little extra, and if they offer a reply, are immediately 
overpowered by gangs of whites? You appear to be a reasonable 
writer, which is the reason I put these queries, knowing they can only 
be answered in the affirmative. 

" We at the South feel proud to allow them to occupy seats in our 
omnibuses (public conveyances), while they, with the affection of 
mothers, embrace our white children, and take them to ride. And in our 
most fashionable carriages, you will see the slave sitting alongside of 


their owner. You will see the slave clothed in the most comfortable of 
wearing apparel. And more. Touch that slave, if you dare, and you 
will see the owner's attachment. And thus, in a very few words, you 
have the contrast between the situation of the colored people at the 
North and South. Do teach the detestable Abolitionist of the North 
his duty, and open his eyes to the misery and starvation that surrounds 
his own home. Teach him to love his brethren of the South, and teach 
him to let Slavery alone in the South, while starvation and destitution 
surrounds him at the North ; and oblige, 

" Baron." 

pharmaceutical science. 

Listening to a conversation among some men lounging on 
the river-bank, and who were, probably, brakemen or engineers 
on the rail-roads, I took notes of the following interesting in- 
formation : 

" Nitrate of silver is a first-rater ; you can get it at the 
'pothecary shops in Eichmond. But the best medicine there 
is, is this here Idee of Potasun. It's made out of two minerals; 
one on 'em they gets in the mountains of Scotland — that's the 
Idee ; the other's steel-filings, and they mixes them eschemi- 
cally until they works altogether into a solid stuff like salt- 
petre. Now, I tell you that's the stuff for medicine. It's the 
best thing a man can ever put into his self. It searches out 
every narve in his body." 


The train by which we were finally able to leave Gaston 
arrived the next clay an hour and a half after its advertised 
time. The road was excellent and speed good, a heavy IT 
rail having lately been substituted for a flat one. A new equip- 
ment of the road, throughout, is nearly complete. The cars 
of this train were very old, dirty, and with dilapidated and 


moth-eaten furniture. They furnished me with a comfort, how- 
ever, which I have never been able to try before — a full-length 
lounge, on which, with my over-coat for a pillow, the car being 
warmed, and, unintentionally well ventilated, I slept soundly 
after dark. Why night-trains are not furnished with sleeping 
apartments, has long been a wonder to me. We have now 
smoking-rooms and water-closets on our trains ; why not sleep- 
ing, dressing, and refreshment rooms? With these additions, 
and good ventilation, we could go from New York to New 
Orleans by rail without stopping: as it is, a man of ordinary 
constitution cannot go a quarter that distance without suffering 
serious indisposition. Surely such improvements could not fail 
to be remunerative, particularly on lines competing with water 

The country passed through, so far as I observed, was almost 
entirely covered with wood ; and such of it as was cultivated, 
very unproductive. 


The city of Ealeigh (old Sir Walter), the capital of North 
Carolina, is a pleasing town — the streets wide and lined with 
trees, and many white wooden mansions, all having little court- 
yards of flowers and shrubbery around them. The State-House 
is, in every way, a noble building, constructed of brownish-grey 
granite, in Grecian style. It stands on an elevated position, 
near the centre of the city, in a square field, which is shaded 
by some tall old oaks, and could easily be made into an appro- 
priate and beautiful little park; but which, with singular 
negligence, or more singular economy (while $500,000 has 
been spent upon the simple edifice), remains in a rude state 


of undressed nature, and is used as a hog-pasture. A trifle 
of the expense, employed with doubtful advantage, to give a 
smooth exterior face to the blocks of stone, if laid out in 
grading, smoothing, and dressing its ground base, would have 
added indescribably to the beauty of the edifice. An architect 
should always begin his work upon the ground. 

There are several other public buildings and institutions of 
charity and education, honorable to the State. A church, near 
the Capitol, not yet completed, is very beautiful ; cruciform in 
ground plan, the walls of stone, and the interior wood-work of 
oiled native pine, and with, thus far, none of the irreligious 
falsities in stucco and paint that so generally disenchant all 
expression of worship in our city meeting-houses. 

It is hard to admire what is common ; and it is, perhaps, 
asking too much of the citizens of Kaleigh, that they should 
plant for ornament, or even cause to be retained about such 
institutions as their Lunatic Asylum, the beautiful evergreens 
that crowd about the town ; but can any man walk from the 
Capitol oaks to the pine grove, a little beyond the Deaf and 
Dumb Institution, and say that he would not far rather have 
the latter than the former to curtain in his habitation? If he 
can in summer, let him try it again, as I did, in a soft winter's 
day, when the evergreens fill the air with a balsamic odor, and 
the green light comes quivering through them, and the foot 
falls silently upon the elastic carpet they have spread, deluding 
one with all the feelings of spring. 

The country, for miles "about Ealeigh, is nearly all pine 
forest, unfertile, and so little cultivated, that it is a mystery 
how a toAvn of 2,500 inhabitants can obtain sufficient supplies 
from it to exist. 


The public-house at which I stayed was, however, not only 
well supplied, but was excellently well kept, for a house of its 
class, in all other respects. The landlord superintended his 
business personally, and was always attentive and obliging to 
his guests ; and the servants were sufficiently numerous, intelli- 
gent, and well instructed. Though I had no acquaintances in 
Ealeigh, I remained, finding myself in such good quarters, 
several days. I think the house was called " The Burlinghame." 


After this stay, rendered also partly necessary for the repair 
of damages to my clothing and baggage on the Weldon stage, 
I engaged a seat one day on the coach, advertised to leave at 
nine o'clock for Fayetteville. At half-past nine, tired of 
waiting for its departure, I told the agent, as it was not 
ready to start, I would walk on a bit, and let them pick me 
up. I found a rough road — for several miles a clayey surface 
and much water — and was obliged to pick my way a good deal 
through the woods on either side. Stopping frequently, when 
I came to cultivated land, to examine the soil and the appear- 
ance of the stubble of the maize — the only crop — in three 
different fields I made five measurements at random, of fifty 
feet each, and found the stalks had stood, on an average, five 
feet by two ■ feet one inch apart, and that, generally, they were 
not over an inch in diameter at the butt. In one old-field, in 
process of clearing for new cultivation, I examined a most 
absurd little plow, with a share not more than six inches in 
depth, and eight in length on the sole, fastened by a socket 
to a stake, to which was fitted a short beam and stilts. It was 
drawn by one mule, and its work among the stumps could only 


be called scratching. A farmer told me that he considered 
twenty-five bushels of corn a large crop, and that he generally- 
got as much as fifteen. He said that no money was to be got 
by raising corn, and very few farmers here " made" any more than 
they needed for their own force. It cost too much to get it to 
market, and yet sometimes they had had to buy corn at a dollar 
a bushel, and wagon it home from Ealeigh, or further, enough 
not having been raised in the country for home consumption. 
Cotton was the only crop they got any money for. I, never- 
theless, did not see a single cotton-field during the day. He 
said that the largest crop of corn that he knew of, reckoned to 
be fifty bushels to the acre, had been raised on some reclaimed 
swamp, while it was still so wet that horses would mire on it 
all the summer, and most of it had been tended entirely with 

A very fine oak tree, standing by itself on some elevated 
ground, having attracted me to a considerable distance from 
the road, I found that the spread of its branches covered a 
circle of the diameter of forty-two paces. 

After walking a few miles, the country became more flat, and 
was covered with old forests of yellow pine, and, at nine miles 
south of Kaleigh, there were occasionally young long-leaved 
pines : exceedingly beautiful they are while young, the color 
being more agreeable than that of any other pine, and the 
leaves, or straw, as its foliage is called here, long, graceful, 
and lustrous. As the tree gets older, it becomes of a stiffer 
character and darker color. 

I do not think I passed, in ten miles, more than half a dozen 

homesteads, and of these but one was above the character of a 

hut or cabin. 


A little after one o'clock I reached "Bank's," a plantation 
where the stage horses are changed, eleven miles from Kaleigh ; 
and the coach not having arrived, I asked for something to eat. 
A lunch was prepared for me in about fifteen minutes. There was 
nothing on the table, when I was invited to it, except some cold 
salt pork and pickled beets; but as long as I remained, at 
intervals of two or three minutes, additions would be made, till 
at last there had accumulated five different preparations of 
swine's flesh, and two or three of corn, most of them just 
cooked ; the only vegetable, pickled beets. 

Before I finished my repast, the coach arrived, and I took 
my seat. 

"All right?" asked the driver. 

"You haven't changed your horses." 

" Goin' ter change the wheelers on top the hill ; horses in the 
field there." 

Having reached the hill top, the change was effected — a 
change, but no improvement. The fresh horses could do but 
little more than stand up ; there was not one among them that 
would have sold for twenty-five dollars in New York. " There 
ain't a man in North Car'lina could drive them horses up the 
hills without a whip," said the driver. "You ought to get 
yesef a whip, massa," said one of the negroes. " Durnation! 
think I'm going to buy whips ; the best whip in North Car'lina 
wouldn't last a week on this road." " Bat's a fac — dat ar is a 
fac; but look yeah, massa, ye let me hab yer stick, and I'll 
make a whip for ye ; ye nebber can make Bawley go widout 
it, no now." The stick was a sapling rod, of which two or 
three lay on the coach 'top ; the negro fastened a long leather 
thong to it. " Dah ! ye can fetch old Bawley wi' dat." " Baw- 


ley " had been tackled in as the leader of the " spike team ;" 
hut, upon attempting to start, it was found that he couldn't be 
driven in that Avay at ail, and the driver took him out and put 
him to the pole, within reach of the butt of his stick, and 
another horse was put on the lead. 

One negro now took the _ leader by the head, and applied 
a stick lustily to his flanks; another, at the near wheeler, did 
the same ; and the driver belabored Bawley from the box. 
But as soon as they began to move forward, and the negro let 
go the leader's head, he would face about. After this had 
been repeated many times, a new plan of operations was ar- 
ranged that proved successful. Leaving the two wheelers to 
the care of the negroes, the driver was enabled to give all his 
attention to the leader. When the wheelers started, of course 
he was struck by the pole, upon which he would turn tail and 
start for the stable. The negroes kept the wheelers from 
following him, and the driver with his stick, and another negro 
with the bough of a tree, thrashed his face ; he would then turn 
again, and, being hit by the pole, start ahead. So, after ten 
minutes of fearful outcry, we got off. 

"How far is it to Mrs. Barclay's?" a passenger had asked. 
" Thirteen miles," answered a negro ; " but I tell 'ou, massa, 
dais a heap to be said and talk 'bout 'fore 'on see Missy Bar- 
clay's wid dem hosses." There was, indeed. 

"Bawley — you! Bawley — Bawley! wha' 'bout? — ah!" 

" Mock ! wha' you doin' ? — (durned sick horse — an't fit to be 
in a stage, nohow)." 

" Bawley ! you ! g'up !" 

" Oh ! you dod-rotted Bob — Bob ! — (he don't draw a pound, 
and he an't a goin' to) — you, Bob ! — (well, he can't stop, can he, 


as long as the wheelers keep movin' ?) Bob! I'll break yer 
legs, you don't git out the way." 

" Oh, Bawley ! — (no business to put such a lame boss into the 
stage.) Blamnation, Bawley ! Now, if you stop, I'll kill you." 

" Wha' 'bout, Bock ? Dod bum that Bock ! You stop if you 
dare ! (I'll be durned to Hux if that ere hoss arn't all used up.)" 

"You, Boh ! get out de way, or I'll be — ." 

" Oh ! d'rot yer soul, Bawley — y're goin' to stop ! G'up ! 
G'up! Rock! You all-fired ole villain! Wha' 'bout? (If 
they jus' git to stoppin', all hell couldn't git the mails through 

After about three miles of this, they did stop. The driver 
threw the reins down in despair. After looking at the wheels, 
and seeing that we were on a good piece of road, nothing 
unusual to hinder progress, he put his hands in his pockets, 
and sat quietly a minute, and then began, in a business-like 
manner, to swear, no longer confining himself to the peculiar 
idiomatic profanity of the countiy, but using real, outright, 
old-fashioned, uncompromising English oaths, as loud as he 
could yell. Then he stopped, and, after another pause, began 
to talk quietly to the horses : 

"You, Bob, you won't draw? Didn't you git enough last 
night? (I jabbed my knife into his face twice when we got 
into that fix last night;" and the wounds on the horse's head 
showed that he spoke the truth.) " I swar, Bob, if I have to 
come down thar, I'll cut your throat." 

He stopped again, and then sat down on the foot-board, and 
began to beat the wheelers as hard and as rapidly as possible 
with the butt of his stick. They started, and, striking Bob 
with the pole, he jumped and turned round ; but a happy stroke 


on " the raw " in his face brought him to his place ; and the 
stick being applied just in time to the wheelers, he caught the 
pole and jumped ahead. We were off again. 

" Turned over in that 'ere mire hole last night," said the 
driver. " Couldn't do anythin' with 'em — passengers camped 
out — thar's where they had their fire, under that tree ; didn't 
get to Raleigh till nine o'clock this mornin'. That's the reason 
I wern't along arter you any sooner — hadn't got my breakfast; 
that's the reason the hosses don't draw no better to-day, too, I 
s'pose. You, Rock ! — Bawley ! — Bob ! 

After two miles more, the horses stopped once more. 
The driver now quietly took the leader off (he had never drawn 
at all), and tied him behind the coach. He then began beating 
the near-wheeler, a passenger did the same to Bawley — both 
standing on the ground — while I threw off my over-coat and 
walked on. For a time I could occasionally hear the cry, 
"Bawl — Rock!" and knew that the coach was moving again; 
gradually I outwalked the sound. 


I was now fairly in the Turpentine region of North Carolina. 
The road was a mere opening through a forest of the long- 
leafed pine ; the trees from eight to eighteen inches in diameter, 
with straight trunks bare for nearly thirty feet, and their ever- 
green foliage forming a dense dark canopy at that hight, the 
surface of the ground undulating with long swells, occasionally 
low and wet. In the latter case, there was generally a mingling 
of deciduous trees and a water-course crossing the road, with a 
thicket of shrubs. The soil sandy, with occasionally veins of 
clay; the latter more commonly in the low ground, or in the 


descent to it. Very little- grass, herbage, or under-wood ; and 
the ground covered, except in the road, with the fallen pine- 
leaves. Every tree, on one, two, or three sides, was scarified 
for turpentine. In ten miles, I passed half a dozen cabins, one 
or two small clearings, in which corn had been planted, and one 
turpentine distillery, with a dozen sheds and cabins clustered 
about it. 

In about an hour after I left the coach, the driver, mounted 
on Bob, overtook me : he was going on to get fresh horses. 

After dark, I had some difficulty in keeping the road, there 
being frequent forks, and my only guide the telegraph wire. I 
had to cross three or four brooks, which were now high, and 
had sometimes floated off the logs which, in this country, are 
commonly placed, for the teamsters, along the side of the road, 
where it runs through water. I could generally jump from 
stump to stump ; and, by wading a little at the edges in my 
staunch Scotch shooting boots, get across dry-shod. Where, 
however, the water was too deep, I always found, by going up 
or down stream, a short way, a fallen trunk across it, by which 
I got over. 

I met tbe driver returning with two fresh horses ; and at 
length, before eight o'clock, reached a long one-story cabin, 
which I found to be Mrs. Barclay's. It was right cheerful 
and comforting to open the door, from the dark, damp, chilly 
night, into a large room, filled with blazing light from a great 
fire of turpentine pine, by which two stalwart men were reading 
newspapers, a door opening into a back-ground of supper- table 
and kitchen, and a nice, stout, kindly-looking, Quaker-like old 
lady coming forward to welcome me. 

As soon as I was warm, I was taken out to supper : seven 


\ preparations of swine's flesh, two of maize, wheat cakes, broiled 
quails, cold roast turkey, coffee, and tea. 

My bed-room was a house by itself, the only connection be- 
tween it and the main building being a platform, or gallery, in 
front. A great fire burned here also in a broad fire-place ; a 
stuffed easy-chair had been placed before it, and a tub of hot 
water, which I had not thought to ask for, to bathe my weary feet. 

And this was a piny-woods stage-house ! But genius will 
find its development, no matter where its lot is cast; and 
there is as much a genius for hospitality as for poetry. Mrs. 
Barclay is a Burns in her way, and with even more modesty ; 
for, after twenty-four hours of the best entertainment that 
could be asked for, I was only charged one dollar. I paid two 
dollars for my stage-coach privileges — to wit, riding five miles 
and walking twenty-one. 

At three o'clock in the morning, the three gentlemen that I 
had left ten miles back at four o'clock the previous day, were 
dragged, shivering in the stage-coach, to the door. They had 
had no meal since breakfasting at Raleigh ; and one of them was 
now so tired that he could not eat, but lay down on the floor 
before the fire and slept the half hour they were changing 
.horses, or rather resting horses, for there was nothing left to 
change to. 

I afterwards met one of the company in Fayetteville. Their 
night's adventure after I left them, and the continued cruelty to 
the horses, were really most distressing. The driver once got 
off the box, and struck the poor, miserable, sick "Bock" with a 
rail, and actually knocked him down in the road. At another 
time, after having got the fresh horses, when they, too, were 
"stalled," he took them out of the harness and turned them 


loose, and, refusing to give any answer to the inquiries of the 
passengers, looked about for a dry place, and laid down and 
went to sleep on the ground. One of the passengers had then 
walked on to Mrs. Barclay's, and obtained a pair of mules, 
with which the coach was finally brought to the house. The 
remainder kindled a fire, and tried to rest themselves by it. 
They were sixteen hours in coming thirty miles, suffering much 
from cold, and without food. 

The next day I spent in visiting turpentine and rosin works, 
piny-wood farms, etc., under the obliging guidance of Mrs. 
Barclay's son-in-law, and in the evening again took the coach. 
The horses were better than on the previous stage : upon my 
remarking this to the driver, he said that the reason was, that 
they took care of this team themselves (the drivers) ; on the last 
stage the horses were left to negroes, who would not feed them 
regularly, nor take any decent care of them. " Why, what do 
you think?" said he, ''when I got to Banks's, this morning, I 
found my team hadn't been fed all day ; they hadn't been rubbed 
nor cleaned, nary durned thing done to 'em, and thar the cussed 
darkey was, fast asleep. Eeckon I didn't gin him a wakin' up !" 
" You don't mean the horses that you drove up ?" 
" Yes, I do, and they hadn't a cussed thing to eat till they got 
back to Barclay's !" 

"How was it possible for you to drive them back?" 
" Why, I don't suppose I could ha' done it if I'd had any pas- 
sengers : (you Suze !) shall lose a mail again to-night, if this 
mare don't travel better, (durn ye, yer ugly, I believe). She's 
a good mare — a heap of go in her, but it takes right smart 
of work to get it out. Suze!" 

So we toiled on, with incessant shouting, and many strange 


piny-wood oaths, and horrid belaboring of the poor horses' 
backs, with the butt-end of a hickory whip-stalk, till I really 
thought their spinal-columns must break. The country, the 
same undulating pine forest, the track tortuous among the trees, 
which frequently stood so close that it required some care to 
work between them. Often we made detours from the original 
road to avoid a fallen tree, or a mire-hole, and all the time we 
were bouncing over protruding roots and small stumps. There 
was but little mud, the soil being sand, but now and then a deep 
slough. In one of these we found a wagon, heavily laden, stuck 
fast, and six mules and five negroes tugging at it. With our 
help it was got out of the Avay, and we passed on. Soon after- 
wards we met the return coach, apparently in a similar predica- 
ment ; but one of the passengers, whom I questioned, replied : 
" No, not stalled, exactly, but somehow the horses won't draw. 
We have been more than three hours coming about four miles." 

". How is it you have so many balky horses V I asked the 

" The old man buys 'em up cheap, 'cause nobody else can do 
anything with 'em." 

" I should not think you could do much with them, either — 
except to kill them." 

" Well, that's what the old man says he buys 'em for. He 
was blowing me up for losing the mail t'other night ; I told him, 
says I, \ you have to a'most kill them horses, 'fore you can make 
'em draw a bit,' says I. ' Kill 'em, damn 'em, kill 'em, then ; 
that's what I buy 'em for,' says he. ' I buy 'em a purpose to 
kill; that's all they are good for, ain't it?' says he. 'Don't 
s'pose they're going to last forever, do ye V says he." 

We stopped once, nearly half an hour, for some unexplained 


reason, before a house on the road. The door of the house was 
open, an enormous fire was burning in it, and, at the suggestion 
of the driver, I went in to warm myself. It was a large log- 
cabin, of two rooms, with beds in each room, and with an apart- 
ment overhead, to which access was had by a ladder. Among 
the inmates were two women ; one of them sat at the chimney- 
corner, smoking a pipe, and rocking a cradle; the other sat 
directly before the fire, and full ten feet distant. She was appa- 
rently young, but her face was as dry and impassive as a dead 
man's. She was doing nothing, and said but little ; but, once in 
about a minute, would suddenly throw up her chin, and spit with 
perfect precision across the ten feet range, into the hottest em- 
bers of the fire. The furniture of the house was more scanty 
and rude than I ever saw before in any house, with women living 
in it, in the United States. Yet these people were not so 
poor but that they had a negro woman cutting and bringing 
wood for their fire. 

It must be remembered that this is a long-settled country, 
having been occupied by Anglo-Saxons as early as any part of 
the Free States. 

There is nothing that is more closely connected, both as 
cause and effect, with the prosperity and wealth of a country, 
than its means and modes of traveling, and of transportation of 
the necessities and luxuries of life. I saw this day, as I shall 
hereafter describe, three thousand barrels, of an article worth a 
dollar and a half a barrel in New York, thrown away, a mere 
heap of useless offal, because it would cost more to transport it 
than it would be worth. There was a single wagon, with a ton 
or two of sugar, and flour, and tea, and axes, and cotton cloths, 
unable to move, with six mules and five negroes at work upon it. 


Baleigh is a large distributing post-office, getting a very heavy 
mail from the North ; here was all that is sent by one of its 
main radii, traveling one day two miles an hour, the next four 
miles, and on each occasion failing to connect with the convey- 
ances which we pay to scatter further the intelligence and 
wealth transmitted by it. Barbarous is too mild a term to 
apply to the manner in which even this was done. The im- 
providence, if not the cruelty, no sensible barbarian could have 
been guilty of. 

Afterwards, merely to satisfy my mind (for there is a satisfac- 
tion in seeing even scoundrelism consistently carried out, if 
attempted at all in a business), I called on the agent of the line 
at Fayetteville, stated the case, and asked if any part of what I 
had paid for my passage would be returned me, on account of 
the disappointment and delay which I had suffered from the ina- 
bility of the proprietor to carry out his contract with me. The 
impudence of the suggestion, of course, only created amusement ; 
and I was smilingly informed that the business was not so 
" lucky " that the proprietor could afford to pay back money 
that he had once got into his hands. 


At one of the stations for- changing horses, an old colored 
man was taken into the coach. I ascertained from him that he 
was a blacksmith, and had been up the line to shoe the horses 
at the different stables. Probably he belonged (poor fellow,) to 
the man who bought horses to be killed in doing his work. 
After answering my inquiries, he lay down in the bottom 
of the coach, and slept until we reached Fayetteville. The 
next time we changed, the new driver inquired of the old one 


what passengers lie had. " Only one gentleman, and old man 

" Oh ! is old man along — that's good — if we should turn over, 
or break down, or anything, reckon he could nigh about pray us 
up — he's right smart at prayin'." 

"Well, I tell you, now, ole man can trot put as smart a 
prayer, when he's a mind to go in for't, as any man I ever 
heerd, durned if he can't." 

The last ten miles we came over rajndly, smoothly, and 
quietly, by a plank-road, reaching Fayetteville about twelve, of 
a fine, clear, frosty night. 


Entering the office or bar-room of the stage-house, at which I 
had been advised to stay while in Fayetteville, I found it occu- 
pied by a group of old soakers, among whom was one of 
perhaps sixteen years of age. This lad, without removing the 
cigar which he had in his mouth, went to the bar, whither I 
followed him, and, without saying a word, placed an empty tum- 
bler before me. 

" I don't wish anything to drink," said I ; "I am cold and 
tired, and I would like to go to a room. I intend to stay here 
some days, and I should be glad if you could give me a private 
room, and I should like to have a fire in it." 

" Eoom with a fire in it ?" he inquired, as he handed me the 

" Yes, and I will thank you to have it made immediately, and 
let my baggage be taken up." 

He closed the book, after I had written my name, and returned 
to his seat at the stove, leaving me standing, and immediately 


engaged in conversation, without paying any attention to my 
request. I waited some time, during which a negro came into 
the room, and went out again. I then repeated my request, 
necessarily aloud, and in such a way as to be understood, not 
only by the boy, but by all the company. Immediately all con- 
versation ceased, and every head was turned to look at me. 
Some faces showed evident signs of amusement. The lad paused 
a moment, spit upon the stove, and then — 

"Want a room to yourself?" 

" Yes, if convenient, and with a fire in it." 

No answer and no movement, all the company staring at me 
as if I was a detected burglar. 

"Perhaps you can't accommodate me!" 

" Want a fire made in your room V 

" Why, yes, if convenient ; but I should like to go to my 
room, at any rate ; I am very tired." 

After puffing and spitting for a moment, he rose and pulled 
a bell ; then took his seat again. In about five minutes a negro 
came in, and during all this time there was silence. 

" What'll you drink, Baker," said the lad, rising and going to 
the bar, and taking no notice of the negro's entrance. A boozy 
man followed him, and made some reply ; the lad turned out 
two glasses of spirits, added water to one, and drank it in a gulp.*' 

" Can this boy show me to my room V I asked. 

" Anybody in number eleven, Peter ?" 

* The mother of this young man remonstrated with a friend of mine, for 
permitting his son to join a company of civil engineers, engaged, at the time, 
in surveying a route for a road — he would be subject to such fatiguing labor, 
and so much exposure to the elements ; and congratulated herself that her own 
child was engaged in such an easy and gentleman-like employment as that of 
hotel-clerk and bar-keeper. 


"Not as I knows on, sar." 

"Take this man's baggage up there." 

I followed the negro up to number eleven, which was a large 
back room, in the upper story, with four beds in it. 

" Peter," said I, " I want a fire made here." 

"Want a, fire, sar?" 

" Yes, I want you to make a fire." 

" Wan't a fire, master, this time o' night?" 

" Why, yes ! I want a fire ! Where are you going with the 

" Want a lamp, massa ?" 

"Want a lamp? Certainly, I do." 

After about ten minutes, I heard a man splitting wood in 
the yard, and, in ten more, Peter brought in three sticks 
of green wood, and some chips ; then, the little bed-lamp 
having burned out, he went into an adjoining room, where I 
heard him talking to some one, evidently awakened by his 
entrance to get a match; that failing, he went for another. 
By one o'clock, my fire was made. 

"Peter," said I, "are you going to wait on me, while I stay 

" Yes, sar ; I 'tends to dis room." 

" Very well ; take this, and, when I leave, I'll give you an- 
other, if you take good care of me. Now, I wan't you to get 
me some water." 

" I'll get you some water in de morning, sar." 

" I want some to-night — some water and some towels ; don't 
you think you can get them for me ?" 

"I reckon so, massa, if you wants 'em. Want 'em 'fore 
you go to bed ?" 


" Yes ; and get another lamp." 

"Want a lamp?" 

"Yes, of course." 

"Won't the fire do you?" 

" No ; bring a lamp. That one won't burn without filling ; 
you need not try it." 

The water and the lamp came, after a long time. 

In the morning, early, I was awakened by a knock at the 

" Who's there ?" 

"Me, massa; I wants your boots to black." 

I got up, opened the door, and returned to bed. Falling 
asleep, I was soon again awakened by Peter throwing down an 
armful of wood upon the floor. Slept again, and was again 
awakened, by Peter's throwing up the window, to empty out the 
contents of the wash-bowl, etc. The room was filled with smoke 
of the fat light-wood : Peter had already made a fire for me to 
dress by ; but I again fell asleep, and, when I next awoke, the 
breakfast-bell was ringing. Peter had gone off, and left both 
the window and the door open. The smoke had been blown 
out, and the fire had burned out. My boots had been taken 
away, and not returned; and the bell-wire was broken. I 
dressed, and walked to the bar-room in my stockings, and asked 
the bar-keeper — a polite, full-grown man — for my boots. He did 
not know where they were, and rang the bell for Peter. Peter 
came, was reprimanded for his forgetfulness, and departed. 
Ten minutes elapsed, and he did not return. I again requested 
that he should be called; and, this time, he came with my 
boots. He had had to stop to black them: having, he said, 
been too busy to do it before breakfast. 


The following evening, as it grew too cold to write in my 
room, I went down, and found Peter, and told him I wanted a 
fire again, and that he might get me a couple of candles. 
When he came up, he brought one of the little bed-lamps, with 
a capacity of oil for fifteen minutes' use. I sent him down 
again to the office, with a request to the proprietor that I 
might be furnished with candles. He returned, and reported 
that there were no candles in the house. 

" Then, get me a larger lamp." 

"Aint no larger lamps, nuther, sar; — none to spare." 

"Then go out, and see if you can't buy me some candles, 

"Aint no stores open, Sunday, massa, and I don't know 
where I can buy 'em." 

" Then go down, and tell the bar-keeper, with my compli- 
ments, that I wish to write in my room, and I would be obliged 
to him if he would send me a light, of some sort; something 
that will last longer, and give more light, than these little lamps." 

"He won't give you none, massa — not if you hab a fire. 
Can't you see by da light of da fire ? When a gentleman hab 
a fire in his room, dey don't count he Avants no more light 'n 

" Well, make the fire, and I'll go down and see about it." 

As I reached the foot of the stairs, the bell rung, and ] 
went in to tea. The tea-table was moderately well lighted with 
candles. I waited till the company had generally left it, and 
then said to one of the waiters : 

" Here are two dimes : T want you to bring me, as soon as 
you can, two of these candles to number eleven ; do you under- 


" Yes, sar ; I'll fotcli 'em, sar." 
And he did. 

"fire! turn out!" 

About eight o'clock, there was an alarm of fire. Going into 
the street, I was surprised to observe how leisurely the people 
were walking towards the house in flames, standing very promi- 
nently, as it did, upon a hill, at one end of the town. As 1 
passed a church, the congregation was coming out; but very 
few quickened their step above a strolling pace. Arrived near 
the house, I was still more astonished to see how few, of the 
crowd assembled, were occupied in restraining the progress 
of the fire, or in saving the furniture, and at the prevailing 
stupidity, confusion, and want of system and concert of action, 
in the labor for this purpose. A large majority of those who 
were thus engaged were negroes. As I returned towards the 
hotel, a gentleman, walking, with a lady, before me, on the 
side-walk, accosted a negro whom he met : 

" What ! Moses ! That you % Why were you not here 
sooner V 

"Why, Mass Eichard, I was a singing, an' I didn' her de 

bells and 1 see twant in our ward, sar, and so I didn' see 

as dar was zactly 'casion for me to hurry mysef to def. Ef eed 
a been in our ward, Mass Eichard, I'd a rallied, you knows 
I would. Mose would ha rallied, ef eed a been in our ward — 
ha! ha! ha! — you knows it, Mass Eichard!" 

And he passed on, laughing comically, without further re- 




Turpentine is the crude sap of pine-trees. It varies some- 
what, in character and in freedom of flow, with the different 
varieties ; the long-leafed pine (Pinus Palustris) yielding it more 
freely than any other. 

There are very large forests of this tree in North and South 
Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama ; and the turpentine business is 
carried on, to some extent, in all these States. In North Caro- 
lina, however, much more largely than in the others ; because, 
in it, cotton is rather less productive than in the others, in an 
average of years. Negroes are, therefore, in rather less demand; 
and their owners oftener see their profit in employing them in 
turpentine orchards than in the cotton-fields. 

In the region in which the true turpentine-trees grow, indeed, 
there is no soil suitable for growing cotton ; and it is only in the 
swampy parts, or on the borders of streams flowing through it, 
that there is any attempt at agriculture. The farmer, in the 
forest, makes nothing for sale but turpentine, and, when he 
cultivates the land, his only crop is maize ; and of this, I was 
often told, not more than five bushels from an acre is usually 
obtained. Of course, no one would continue long to raise 
such crops, if he had wages to pay for the labor ; but, 
having inherited or reared the laborers, the farmer does not 
often regard them as costing him anything more than what 
he has to pay for their clothes and food — which is very little. 

Few turpentine-farmers raise as much maize as they need for 
their own family ; and those who carry on the business most, 
largely and systematically, frequently purchase all the food of 
their hands. Maize and bacon are, therefore, very largely 
imported into North Carolina, chiefly from Ohio, by the Balti 


more and Wheeling rail-road, and from Baltimore to Wilmington 
or Newbern, by sea. 

The turpentine forest is from thirty to eighty miles wide, and 
extends from near the north-line of North Carolina to the Gulf 
of Mexico. Until lately, even in North Carolina, the business 
of collecting turpentine has been confined to such parts of the 
forest as "were situated most conveniently to market — the value 
of the commodity not warranting long inland transportation. 
Eecently, the demand has increased, owing, probably, to the 
enlarged consumption of spirits of turpentine in " burning 
fluids ;" and the business has been extended into the depths of 
the forest. It is yet thought a hazardous venture to start the 
business where more than thirty miles of wagoning is required 
to bring the spirits of turpentine to a rail-road, or navigable 

If we enter, in the winter, a part of a forest that is about to 
be converted into a " turpentine orchard," we come upon negroes 
engaged in making boxes, in which the sap is to be collected the 
following spring. They continue at this work from November 
to March, or until, as the warm weather approaches, the sap 
flows freely, and they are needed to remove it from the boxes 
into barrels. These " boxes" are not made of boards, nailed to- 
gether in a cubical form, as might be supposed ; nor are they 
log-troughs, such as, at the North, maple-sap is collected in. 
They are cavities dug in the trunk of the tree itself. A long, 
narrow ax, made in Connecticut, especially for this purpose, is 
used for this wood-pecking operation ; and some skill is required 
to use it properly. We may see the green hands doing 'prentice 

* Since this was written, a great decline of prices has occurred. 


work upon any stray oaks, or other rcon-turpentine trees they 
can find in the low grounds. 

The boxes are made at from six inches to a foot above the 
roots, and are shaped like a distended waistcoat-pocket. The 
lower lip is horizontal — the upper, arched; the bottom of the 
box is about four inches below the lower lip, and eight or ten 
below the upper. On a tree of medium size, a box should be 
made to hold a quart. The less the ax approaches towards the 
centre of the tree, to obtain the proper capacity in the box, the 
better, as the vitality of the tree is less endangered ; but this 
is little thought about. 

An expert hand will make a box in less than ten minutes ; 
and seventy-five to a hundred — according to the size and 
proximity of the trees — is considered a day's work. 

The boxes being made, the bark, and a few of the outer rings 
of the wood of the tree, are cut off ("hacked") along the edge 
of the upper lip. From this excoriation, the sap begins to flow 
about the fifteenth of March, and gradually fills the boxes, from 
which it is taken by a spoon or ladle, of a peculiar form, and 
collected into barrels. 

The turpentine barrels are made by negro coopers ; the staves 
split from pine-logs, shaved and trimmed. They are hooped 
with split oak-saplings. Coopers' wages, when hired out, are 
from $1 50 to $2 a day. A good cooper is expected to make 
six or seven barrels a day. They are of the rudest construc- 
tion possible — the staves being straight, and forming a simple 
cylinder — thirty inches long and eighteen inches diameter, head 
ed up at both ends, with a square hole in one end, where the 
turpentine is poured in. 

In from seven to ten days after the first hacking, the trees aro 



again scarified. This is done with a hatchet, or with an instru- 
ment made for the purpose. A very slight chip, or shave, above 
the former, is all that is needed to be removed ; the object being 
merely to expose a new surface of the cellular tissue — the flow 
from the former being clogged by congelations of the sap. 

These hackings being made three or four times a month, the 
excoriation is constantly advancing higher up the trunk. The 
slighter the cut, the less the tree is injured, and the slower the 
advance, and the longer and the more conveniently may the 
process be carried on : nevertheless, in ninety-nine " orchards" 
out of a hundred, you will see that the chip has always been 
much broader and deeper than, with the slightest care to restrict 
it, it needed to have been. If the "dipping" has commenced 
.-.when you visit the orchard, you will notice that the turpentine 
collected has much rubbish — chips and leaves — in it, considerably 
injuring its value. The greater part of this might have been 
avoided, by having the negroes clean out the boxes in which it 
had fallen, in the winter ; but they seldom take this trouble. 

In some orchards, you will see that many trees have 
been killed by fire. The wire-grass, which grew among 
the trees the previous year, is frequently set on fire, either 
accidentally or purposely, when dead and dry, in the spring. 
It burns slowly, and with little flame, and the living trees, 
the bark of which is not very inflammable, are seldom injured. 
But where a tree has been boxed, and the chips lie about it, 
these take fire, and burn with more flame ; so that frequently the 
turpentine in the box, and on the scarified wood above it, also 
takes fire, and burns with such intensity as to kill the tree. 
The danger might be avoided by raking away the chips and 
leaves, for a foot or two about the roots ; but I noAvhere saw this 


precaution taken. I mention these things, by the way, as further 
illustration of the general inefficient direction of slave-labor ; or as 
indicating, as might be rather claimed by the owners, that the 
high cost of the labor prevents its direction to these minor 
points of economy. 

By the middle of March, the turpentine is flowing abundantly, 
and the negroes must be employed in hacking, as each tree 
requires to be freshly scarified once in a week, or ten days. Soon 
afterwards, it is necessary to commence dipping, or the removal 
of the turpentine from the boxes to barrels. There are two 
ways of arranging the labor for this purpose used by the larger 
proprietors. In one, all the negroes employed are divided into 
two classes — •' hackers" and " dippers." The hackers are wholly 
employed in scarifying the trees. A task, of a certain number 
of trees, is given to each, which he is required to go over, hack- 
ing each tree, once in seven or eight days. The dippers are 
constantly employed in emptying the boxes, as they fill with 
turpentine. The other way — and this is more common — is to 
give each hand a task of trees, each of which he is required to 
both hack and dip statedly. Twenty-five hundred trees give a man 
five days' employment hacking, and one day dipping, in a week. 
From one to four boxes are made in each tree, according to 
its size; a few inches of bark being left between them. The 
I greater number of trees, from which turpentine is now obtained, 
are from a foot to eighteen inches in diameter, and have three 
boxes each. The hacking is carried on year after year, until, 
in the oldest orchards, it is extended twelve or fifteen feet, and 
ladders have to be used to carry it further up the trunks of the 
trees. The turpentine flows from the most recent hack, down 
over the previously scarified wood of the tree, towards the box, 


a considerable proportion of it congealing by the way, and 
remaining attached to the wood. From this adhering portion, a 
part of the spirits or oil has evaporated in the process of dry- 
ing ; it is, therefore, of less value than that which is taken, in a 
more liquid condition, from the box. It is occasionally — per- 
haps but once a year — scraped off, and barreled by itself. It 
is, therefore, known in market as " scrape ;" while that which is 
dipped from the box, and which is of considerably higher value, 
is termed " dip." The flow of the first year, having but a small 
surface of wood to traverse, and being, therefore, less exposed to 
evaporation than the flow of later years, is of higher value than 
the ordinary dip. It is called " virgin dip." In many of the 
orchards, at a distance from market, and where, of course, all 
classes of turpentine are of less value, I observed that the trees 
had never been scraped — the proprietor having boxed and hacked 
more trees than he could apply force enough to both dip and 
scrape. The dip is lessened, however, by allowing the scrape to 
accumulate ; for much of the flow is thus often made to drop 
outside of the box. The price of turpentine being now much 
higher than usual, many of the small proprietors are this year 
scraping their trees, that have not scraped before. This old 
" scrape" will be of inferior quality. 


A considerable amount of turpentine is shipped in barrels to 
Northern ports, where it is distilled ; a larger amount is distilled 
in the State. The proprietors of the large turpentine orchards, 
themselves, have stills ; and those collecting but a small quantity 
sell to them, or to custom distilleries, owned by those who make 
distilling alone their business. 



The stills used for making spirits or oil of turpentine from 
the crude gum, are of copper, not materially different in 
form from common ardent-spirit stills, and have a capacity of 
from five to twenty barrels; an average size being, perhaps, 
ten barrels. 


The forest distilleries are usually placed in a ravine or 

valley, where water can be brought to them in troughs, so as 
to flow, at an elevation of fifteen feet from the ground, into the 
* condensing tank. At a point at which the ground will decline 
from it in one direction, the still is set in a brick furnace. A 
floor or scaffold is erected on a level with the bottom of the 
still-head, and a roof covers all. The still-head is taken off, 
and barrels of turpentine, full of rubbish as it is collected by 
the negroes, are emptied in. When the still is full, or nearly so, 
the still-head is put on, and the joint made tight with clay ; fire 


is made, and soon a small, transparent stream of spirits begins 
to flow from the mouth of the worm, and is caught directly in 
the barrel in which it finally comes to market. When all the 
spirits, which can be profitably extracted, are thus drawn off, the 
fire is raked out of the furnace, a spigot is drawn from a spout 
at the bottom of the still, and the residuum flows out — a dark, 
thick fluid, appearing, as it runs, like molasses. 


This residuum is resin, or the rosin of commerce. There is 
not a sufficient demand for rosin, except of the first qualities, to 
make it worth transporting from the inland distilleries ; it is 
ordinarily, therefore, conducted off to a little distance, in a 
wooden trough, and allowed to flow from it to waste upon the 
ground. At the first distillery I visited, which had been in 
operation but one year, there lay a congealed pool of rosin, 
estimated to contain over three thousand barrels. Its appearance 
was very beautiful ; firm and glair ; varying in color, and glisten- 
ing like polished porphyry. The rosin from " virgin dip" 
turpentine, only, was saved here. At the distilleries on the 
river-banks, a second quality is also saved, while a poorer de- 
scription is still let run to waste. When it is intended to 
save the rosin, it is drawn off into a vat of water, which 
separates the chips and other rubbish, that were contained- 
in the gum, and it is then barreled for market. 

To prevent the spirits soaking through the wood and 
evaporating, the barrels are all washed on the inside with 
glue. They are made as carefully as possible, and are 
often brought from the North, and sold at three or four dol- 
lars a-piece. Notwithstanding all precaution, the waste from 


leakage and evaporation is often great, owing to the exceed- 
ingly subtile nature of the fluid. 

The turpentine lands that I saw were valued at from $5 
to $20 an acre. They have sometimes been sold at $2 an 
acre; and those of Georgia and Alabama can be purchased, 
to -any extent, at that price. From 500 to 1,000 trees (or 
2,000 boxes), I judged, stand usually upon an acre. The 
quantity of turpentine that would flow from these, in a year, 
I cannot state reliably. According to some statements given 
me, it would be about fourteen barrels of dip, and two 
barrels of scrape. Fourteen barrels of dip would give, in 
distillation, two barrels of spirits, and eight of resin. 

At a fifteen barrel still, I found one white man and one negro 
employed under the oversight of the owner. It kept employed 
twenty-five men hacking and dipping; running twice, that is, 
using thirty barrels crude turpentine, a day. Besides these 
hands, were two coopers, and several wagoners. The wages 
of ordinary practiced turpentine hands (slaves") are about $120 
a year, with board, clothing, etc., as usual. 

A North Carolina turpentine orchard, with the ordinary 
treatment, lasts fifty years. The trees are subject to the 
attack of an insect which rapidly kills them. Those most 
severely hacked are chiefly liable to this danger. 

The turpentine business is considered to be extremely favor- 
able to health and long life. It is sometimes engaged in by 
persons afflicted with pulmonary complaints, with the belief that 
it has a remedial effect. 

When the original long-leafed pine has been destroyed, and 
the ground cultivated a few years, and then " turned out," a 
bastard variety springs up, which grows with rapidity,, but is 


of no value for turpentine, and of but little for timber. The 
true variety, ricb in turpentine, is of very slow growth. On 
one trunk, seven inches in diameter, I counted eighty-five 
rings. Whether there will be a renewed spontaneous growth 
of the true long-leafed pine, where they are allowed to gradu- 
ally decay on the ground, I am unable to say. 

Tar is an extract from the pine-wood obtained by charring 
it. It is made wholly from the heart or " light wood" of the 
long-leafed pine, which is split into billets of a size conveni- 
ent for handling and arranging in the tar-kiln. Trees which 
have been used up in the turpentine business, are the best 
to use for making tar. The billets are piled in a conical 
heap, which is covered with turf, much as coal-pits are made 
at the North. The kiln is usually made upon a hillock, and 
trenches are made under it, having a mouth a little below it 
on the hill-side. The proper burning of the kiln to produce 
the most tar, is an art to be learned by practice. It is made 
to burn very slowly, to gradually roast out the juices of the 
pine, so that they will run down, collect in the trench, and 
flow out at its mouth, where, in the commingled condition 
known as tar, they are ladled into barrels. 

This is an exceedingly slovenly process, the tar being 
mixed with sand, and collecting other impurities as it flows 
through the kiln, and searches a way out on and through 
the ground. It is for the reason that it is prepared with 
more care, so as to be free from the admixture of sand, that 
the tar of Northern Europe always stands at a higher value, 
and competes with the Carolina tar, even in our own ports. 


A new patent process of roasting the pine in iron ovens, 
the fire not being in contact with it, has lately been intro- 
duced, and gives good promise of removing this reproach. 
The tar is said to be of much superior quality and to be 
obtained more expeditiously and economically than by the 
old method. 


Pitch is a concentration of tar obtained by boiling it. I 
was unable to obtain any particulars of the process of manu- 
facturing it. 


The negroes employed in this branch of industry, seemed to me 
to be unusually intelligent and cheerful. Decidedly they are 
superior in every moral and intellectual respect to the great mass 
of the white people inhabiting the turpentine forest. Among 
the latter there is a large number, I should think a majority, 
of entirely uneducated, poverty-stricken vagabonds. I mean 
by vagabonds, simply, people without habitual, definite occu- 
pation or reliable means of livelihood. They are poor, hav- 
ing almost no property but their own bodies ; and the use of 
these, that is, their labor, they are not accustomed to hire 
out statedly and regularly, so as to obtain capital by wages, 
but only occasionally by the day or job, when driven to it 
by necessity. A family of these people will commonly hire, 
or " squat" and build, a little log cabin, so made that it is only 
a shelter from rain, the sides not being chinked, and having 
no more furniture or pretension to comfort than is commonly 
provided a criminal in the cell of a prison. They will cul- 
tivate a little corn, and possibly a few roods of potatoes, 



cow-peas and coleworts. They will own a few swine, that find 
their living in the forest ; and pretty certainly, also, a rifle and 
dogs; and the men, ostensibly, occupy most of their time in 

&& ^^^^s^3^i^s =g 

A gentleman of Fayetteville told me that he had, several 
times, appraised, under oath, the whole household property of 
families of this class at less than $20. If they have need of 
money to purchase clothing, etc., they obtain it by selling 
their game or meal. If they have none of this to spare, or an 
insufficiency, they will work for a neighboring farmer for a few 
days, and they usually get for their labor fifty cents a day, 
finding themselves. The farmers say, that they do not like to 
employ them, because they cannot be relied upon to finish 
what they undertake, or to work according to directions; and 


because, being white men, they cannot "drive" them. That 
is to say, their labor is even more inefficient and unmanage- 
able than that of slaves. 

That I have not formed an exaggerated estimate of the 
proportion of such a class, will appear to the reader more 
probable from the testimony of a pious colporteur, given 
before a public meeting in Charleston, in February, 1855. I 
quote from a Charleston paper's report. The colporteur had 

been stationed at county, N. C. : — " The larger portion 

of the inhabitants seemed to be totally given up to a species 
of mental hallucination, which carried them captive at its 
will. They nearly all believed implicitly in witchcraft, and 
attributed everything that happened, good or bad, to the agency 
of persons whom they supposed possessed of evil spirits." 

The majority of what I have termed turpentine-farmers — 
meaning the small proprietors of the long-leafed pine forest 
land, are people but a grade superior, in character or condi- 
tion, to these vagabonds. They have habitations more like 
houses — log-cabins, commonly, sometimes chinked, oftener not— 
without windows of glass, but with a few pieces of substan- 
tial old-fashioned heir-loom furniture ; a vegetable garden, in 
which, however, you will find no vegetable but what they 
call " collards" (colewort) for " greens"; fewer dogs ; more swine, 
and larger clearings for maize, but no better crops than the 
poorer class. Their property is, nevertheless, often of con- 
siderable money value, consisting mainly of negroes, who, as- 
sociating intimately with their masters, are of superior intel- 
ligence to the slaves of the wealthier classes. 

The larger proprietors, who are also often cotton planters, 
cultivating the richer low lands, are, sometimes, gentlemen of 


good estate — intelligent, cultivated, and hospitable. The num- 
of these, however, is extremely small. 


The shad and herring fisheries upon the sounds and inlets of 
(he North Carolina coast are an important branch of industry, 
and a source of considerable wealth. The men employed in 
them are mainly negroes, slave and free ; and the manner in 
which they are conducted is interesting, and in some respects 

The largest sweep seines in the world are used. The gentle- 
man to whom I am indebted for the most of my information, 
was the proprietor of a seine over two miles in length. It was 
manned by a force of forty negroes, most of whom were hired at 
a dollar a day, for the fishing season, Avhich usually commences 
between the tenth and fifteenth of March, and lasts fifty days. 
In favorable years the profits are very great. In extremely un- 
favorable years, many of the proprietors are made bankrupt. 

Cleaning, curing and packing-houses are erected on the shore, 
as near as they conveniently may be to a point on the beach 
suitable for drawing the seine. Six or eight windlasses, worked 
by horses, are fixed along the shore, on each side of this point. 
There are two large seine-boats, in each of which there is one 
captain, two seine-tenders, and eight or ten oarsmen. In making 
a cast of the net, one-half of it is arranged on the stern of each 
of the boats, which, having previously been placed in a suitable 
position — perhaps a mile off shore, in front of the buildings — 
are rowed from each other, the captains steering, and the seine- 
tenders throwing oft', until the seine is all cast between them. 
This is usually done in such a way that it describes the arc of a 


circle, the chord of which is diagonal with the shore. The 
hawsers attached to the ends of the seine are brought first to the 
outer windlasses, and are wound in by the horses. As the ope- 
ration of gathering in the seine occupies several hours, the boat- 
hands, as soon as they have brought the hawsers to the shore, 
draw their boats up, and go to sleep. 

As the wings approach the shore, the hawsers are from time 
to time carried to the other windlasses, to contract the sweep of 
the seine. After the gaff of the net reaches the shore, lines 
attached toward the bunt are carried to the windlasses, and the 
boats' crews are awakened, and arrange the wing of the seine, as 
fast as it comes in, upon the boat again. Of course, as the cast 
was made diagonally with the shore, one wing is beached before 
the other. By the time the fish in the bunt have been secured, 
both boats are ready for another cast, and the boatmen proceed 
to make it, while the shore-gang is engaged in sorting and gut- 
ting the " take." 

My informant, who had $50,000 invested in his fishing estab- 
lishment, among other items of expenditure, mentioned that he 
had used seventy kegs of gunpowder the previous year, and 
amused himself for a few moments with letting me try to con- 
jecture in what way villainous saltpetre could be put to use in 
taking fish. 

There is evidence of a subsidence of this coast, in many 
places, at a comparatively recent period ; many stumps of trees, 
evidently standing where they grew, being found some way 
below the present surface, in the swamps and salt marshes. 
Where the formation of the shore and the surface, or the 
strength of the currents of water, which have flowed over the 
sunken land, has been such as to prevent a later deposit, the 


stumps of great cypress trees, not in the least decayed, yet pro- 
trude from the bottom of the sounds. These would obstruct the 
passage of a net, and must be removed from a fishing-ground. 

The operation of removing them is carried on during the sum- 
mer, after the close of the fishing season. The position of a 
stump having been ascertained by divers, two large seine-boats 
are moored over it, alongside each other, and a log is laid across 
them, to which is attached, perpendicularly, between the boats, a 
spar, fifteen feet long. The end of a chain is hooked to the log, 
between the boats, the other end of which is fastened by divers 
to the stump which it is wished to raise. A double-purchase 
tackle leads from the end of the spar to a ring-bolt in the bows 
of one of the boats, with the fall leading aft, to be bowsed upon 
by the crews. The mechanical advantages of the windlass, the 
lever, and the pulley being thus combined, the chain is wound on 
to the log, until either the stump yields, and is brought to the 
surface, or the boats' gunwales are brought to the water's edge. 

When the latter is the case, and the stump still remains firm, 
a new power must be applied. A spile, pointed with iron, six 
inches in diameter, and twenty feet long, is set upon the stump 
by a diver, who goes down with it, and gives it that direction 
which, in his judgment, is best, and driven into it by mauls and 
sledges, a scaffold being erected between the boats for men to 
stand on while driving it. In very large stumps, the spile is 
often driven till its top reaches the water ; so that when it is drawn 
out, a cavity is left in the stump, ten feet in depth. A tube is 
now used, which is made by welding together three musket- 
barrels, with a breech at one end, in which is the tube of a per- 
cussion breech, with the ordinary position of the nipple reversed, 
so that when it is screwed on with a detonating cap, the latter 


will protrude within the barrel. This breech is then inserted 
within a cylindrical tin box, six inches in diameter, and varying 
in length, according to the supposed strength of the stump ; and 
soap or tallow is smeared about the place of insertion, to make 
it water-tight. The box contains several pounds of gunpowder. 

The long iron tube is elevated, and the diver goes down again, 
and guides it into the hole in the stump, with the canister in his 
arms. It has reached the bottom — the diver has come up, and 
is drawn into one of the boats — an iron rod is inserted in the 
mouth of the tube — all hands crouch low, and hold hard — the 
rod is let go — crack ! — whoo — oosch ! The sea swells, boils, 
and breaks upward. If the boats do not rise with it, they must 
sink ; if they rise, and the chain does not break, the stump must 
rise with them. At the same moment the heart of cypress is 
riven ; its furthest rootlets quiver ; the very earth trembles, and 
loses courage to hold it ; " up comes the stump, or down go 
the niggers !" 

If I owned a yacht, I think I would make a trip to Currituck 
next summer, to witness this Titanic dentistry. Who could 
have invented it ? Not a Carolinian ; it is too ingenious : not a 
Yankee ; it is too reckless : not a sailor ; it is too hard upon the 

The success of the operation evidently depends mainly on the 
discretion and skill of the diver. My informant, who thought 
that he removed last summer over a thousand stumps, using for 
the purpose seventy kegs of gunpowder, employed several divers, 
all of them negroes. Some of them could remain under water, 
and work there to better advantage than others ; but all were ad- 
mirably skillful, and this, much in proportion to the practice and 
experience they had had. They wear, when diving, three or four 


pairs of flannel drawers and shirts. Nothing is required of them 
when they are not wanted to go to the bottom, and, while the 
other hands are at work, they may lounge, or go to sleep in the 
boat, which they do, in their wet garments. Whenever a diver 
displays unusual hardihood, skill, or perseverance, he is re- 
warded with whisky ; or, as they are commonly allowed, while 
diving, as much whisky as they want, with money. Each of 
them would generally get every day from quarter to half a-dollar 
in this way, above the wages paid for them, according to the 
skill and industry with which they had worked. On this 
account, said my informant, " the harder the work you give them 
to do, the better they like it." His divers very frequently had 
intermittent fevers, but would very rarely let this keep them out 
of their boats. Even in the midst of a severe "shake," they 
would generally insist that they were " well enough to dive." 

What! slaves eager to work, and working cheerfully, earn- 
estly and skillfully % Even so. Being for the time managed as 
freemen, their ambition stimulated by wages, suddenly they, too, 
reveal sterling manhood, and honor their Creator. 


In the vicinity of Fayetteville, there are many Scotch High- 
landers. The emigration of these people to North Carolina 
commenced in the early Colony days, and has been continued, 
at intervals, to the present time. They come direct, in a 
small class of vessels, to Wilmington.* 

Very few Highlanders come to New York, or to other 
parts of the United States ; the largest proportion of those emi- 

* There is a credible tradition that Flora Macdonald once lived in North 



grating, arrive at Quebec, and remain in Canada. In this 
they are led simply by their clannishness ; like sheep, they 
follow one another without looking right or left for an easier 
leap; the stream once started, there is no diverting it. I 
remember to have found the Highlanders at home familiar 
with the names of districts and towns in Canada, though 
they had no knowledge whatever of the United States, and 
used the names Canada and America synonymously. Prob- 
ably, in some districts of the Highlands, no" one knows of 
any other port in America than Wilmington. You frequently 
fiud people who can speak Gaelic, in North Carolina; and, 
sometimes, a small settlement where it is the common tongue : 
there are even one or two churches in the State, in Avhich 
the services are performed in Gaelic. 

The immigrants of the present generation have, nearly all, 
come to Fayetteville. Most of them are very poor, and ob- 
tain employment as laborers, as soon as they can get it, after 
their arrival. In a year or two, they will have saved money 
enough from their wages to purchase a few acres of piny- 
wood land, upon which they raise a cabin, make a clearing, 
and go to raising corn and a family. They are distinguished 
for frugality and industry ; and, unless they are very intempe- 
rate — as too many of them are — are certain in a few years 
to acquire money enough to buy a negro, which they are said 
to be invariably ambitious to possess. Before they die, they 
will have got a family or two of young negroes about them, 
to be divided as a patrimony among their children. With a 
moderate competence they are content, and seldom become 
wealthy. Their children do not appear, generally, to retain 
their thrifty habits. I saw a number of girls, of Highland 


blood, employed in a cotton factory near Fayetteville. In 
modesty, cleanliness, and neatness of apparel, though evidently 
poor, they certainly compared favorably with the girls em- 
ployed in a cotton mill that I visited near Glasgow, a few 
years ago ; but the proprietor told me that they very seldom 
laid up anything, and spent the greater part of their earn- 
ings very foolishly, as fast as they received them. 

A young man, employed in this factory, to whom the pro- 
prietor, having told me he was more intelligent and trust- 
worthy than most of his class, had introduced me, finding 
that I was from the North, voluntarily told me that Slavery 
was a great- weight upon poor people here, and he wished 
that he lived in a Free State. 


Having observed, from my room in the hotel at Fayetteville, 
a number of remarkable, bright lights, I walked out, about 
eleven o'clock, in the direction in which they had appeared, 
and found, upon the edge of an old-field, near the town, a 
camp of wagoners, with half-a-dozen fires, around some of 
which were clustered groups of white men and women and 
negroes cooking and eating their suppers (black and white 
from the same kettle, in many cases), some singing Methodist 
songs, and some listening to a banjo or fiddle-player. A still 
larger number appeared to be asleep, generally lying under 
low tents, about as large as those used by the French soldier. 
There were thirty or forty great wagons, with mules, cattle, 
or horses, feeding from troughs set upon their poles. The group- 
ing of all among some old sycamore trees, with the fantastic 
shadows and wavering lights, the free flames and black brood- 



ing smoke of the pitch-pine fires, produced a most interesting 
and attractive spectacle, and detained me long in admiration. 
I could easily imagine myself to be on the Oregon or California 
trail, a thousand miles from the realm of civilization — not 
readily realize that I was within the limits of one of the oldest 
towns on the American continent. 

■ : 





. '" '/•• \ ,7 7 7; 

These were the farmers of the distant highland districts, 
and their slaves, come to market with their produce. Next 
morning I counted sixty of their great wagons in the main 
street of the little town. They would generally hold, in the 
body, as much as seventy-five bushels of grain, were very 
strongly built, and drawn by from two to six horses ; the 
near wheeler always having a large Spanish saddle on his 
back, for their driver. The merchants stood in the doors of 


their stores, or walked out into the street to observe their 
contents — generally of corn, meal, flour or cotton — and to 
traffic for them. I observed that the negroes often took part 
in the bargaining, and was told by a merchant, that both the 
selling of the produce, and the selection and purchase of goods 
for the farmer's family, was often left entirely to them. 

Several of the wagons had come, I found, from a hundred 
miles distant ; and one of them from beyond the Blue Eidge, 
nearly two hundred miles. In this tedious way, until lately, 
nearly all the commerce between the back country and the 
river towns and sea-ports of Virginia and North Carolina has 
been carried on, strong teams of horses toiling on, less than 
a score of miles a day, with the lumbering wagons, the roads 
running through a sparsely settled district of clay soil, and much 
worse, even, than those of the sandy lands I have described. 
Every night, foul or fair, the driver and attendants, often 
including the farmer himself, and part of his family, camp 
out on the road-side. 


At Gaston I had seen a number of long, narrow, canoe-like 
boats, of light draft, in which the produce of the country along 
the head waters of the Eoanoke was brought to market. They 
were generally manned by three men each, who were sheltered 
at night under a hood of canvas, stretched upon poles, in the 
stern of the boat. The mouth of this hood opened upon a bed 
of clay, laid upon the boat's bottom, on which a fire was made, 
that would keep them warm, and cook their food. An equally 
picturesque scene with that of the wagon camp was a collection 
of these boats, moored at night under the steep river bank, the 


negroes reclining under the dusky hoods, or sitting on the gun- 
wales, cooking and eating their hoe-cake, smoking, singing, or 
telling of their adventures on the passage. The cargoes of these 
boats -were chiefly composed of meal, hides, and tobacco, and at 
Gaston they were transhipped, by rail, to some of the Virginia 


Until within a recent period, much tobacco has been brought 
to market, from the more remote districts of North Carolina and 
Virginia, by a very rude method, called " rolling," which was 
performed in this wise. Felloes, like those of cart-wheels, were 
hewn with an ax, and fitted to a cask of tobacco, at a little dis- 
tance each side the bilge ; holes were bored with an auger, 
and long wooden pins driven in, fastening them to the cask ; a 
large hole was then bored in the middle of each head, and a spar 
driven through, which formed an axle-tree. To this, long poles, 
used as shafts, were attached, holes being bored through the ends 
of them, which slipped over the axle-tree, and they were secured 
by linch-pins. One horse was tackled in between the poles, and 
another attached tandem, before him. On the leader's back, a 
kettle and a bag of meal were hung ; and on the shaft-horse was 
strapped a blanket, or bear-skin, which served as a saddle for the 
driver by day, and a bed-cover by night. Small farmers them- 
selves often brought in their tobacco in this way ; but there were 
also a set of men who made it their principal occupation, and 
whose calling was that of "tobacco-rollers." They contracted 
with the large planters to take their whole crop to the market- 
town at a certain price, furnishing horses, felloes, etc., them- 
selves. It was their custom to so arrange their starting, that 


many would come together on the road, and so proceed, 
making a considerable camp, wherever they stopped for the 
night; and many such companies, by a previous agreement, 
would arrive in the towns together. A hard set they must have 
been — for the citizens now tell how, when they were young, all 
quiet housekeepers were kept in a state of excited alarm during 
the seasons when the tobacco-rollers were in town ; and they 
well remember with what respect and consideration they were 
treated by all discreet people ; for the quarrel of one, was made 
that of the whole body. 


Eail-roads and canals, running westward from the navigable 
water at Baltimore, Kichmond, Petersburg, and Charleston, now 
shorten the distance to which it is necessary for the horse trans- 
portation of the products of much of the upper country to be 
earned. A large district of Central and Western North Caro- 
lina, however, is still unpierced by either rail-road or serviceable 
canal ; and much of this finds its readiest communication with 
the sea, and by that to the rest of the world, by the Cape Fear 
river. Fayetteville is the point of transfer from wagon to 
boat, being at the head of navigation. 

In 1820, a company was chartered, to make the river above 
Fayetteville navigable for boats, with a capital of $100,000. 
About $80,000 were raised and spent, probably without good 
judgment ; certainly without accomplishing anything ; and this 
failure operated for a long time to discourage the further em- 
ployment of capital (which is much less concentrated in this than 
in the adjoining States), in public works. The Cape Fear river 

improvements have been persevered in with fluctuating energy at 


different periods, and are now directed by the State. The main 
object in view at present, is to obtain a boat-transportation from 
certain coal-beds to the ocean. The coal is bituminous — some 
of it of a very desirable quality, would be readily and cheaply 
mined, and the beds are of exhaustless extent. If it could be 
brought from the mines to the ocean with but one transhipment, 
and untaxed with heavy tolls, it could, without doubt, be sold 
with a good profit in New York and New England. It is calcu- 
lated, also, that it would bear rail-road freight to Fayetteville, 
and thence two handlings to get it to sea ; and for this purpose 
a rail-road had been projected, and -a charter obtained, shortly 
before my visit. Gentlemen interested told me then, that they 
had scarcely any hopes of getting a sufficient amount of stock 
taken to proceed, but they should try to get a loan from the cor- 
porations of Fayetteville and Wilmington. When I returned 
through Western North Carolina, some months afterwards, I was 
informed that when about one-sixth of the amount of stock 
required to be taken by a certain date, before any use could be 
made of the charter, had been subscribed for, and when it was 
thought no more subscriptions could be obtained, a stranger had 
suddenly subscribed, in behalf of certain New Yorkers, for all the 
remainder. It was reported to be the design of these capi- 
talists, if it should be found practicable upon careful survey, 
to carry the road to a point on the coast where they had 
discovered a neglected harbor, with great natural advantages for 
commerce, the charter having, by accident, been so loosely 
worded as to admit of this change in the terminus of the road. 
The New Yorkers were supposed to have made large purchases 
of land in the vicinity of this new harbor, and probably at other 
points, where the value of land would be favorably influenced by 


the work. How much truth there was in this report, I do not 
know, but my informant, having just come from Fayetteville, told 
me that the people there believed it, and were in transports of 
delight with the prospect it afforded them. Not one word was 
said about the " impudent intermeddling of Northerners," not the 
slightest indignation expressed, that the "profits of their own 
legitimate business should thus be stolen from them by the mer- 
cenary New Yorkers." 

Paragraphs like the following may often be seen in juxtapo- 
sition, in the Southern papers : 

" The Farmersville coal field, on Deep river, Chatham county, N. C. 
which was purchased some four years ago for $8,000, was sold last week 
to a Northern Company, for $91,000, cash. There are 900 acres of 
land in the tract." 

* * -:<- * « j£ i s pi a i n that a new and glorious destiny awaits the 
South, and beckons us onward to a career of independence. Shall we 
train and discipline our energies for the coming crisis, or shall we con- 
tinue the tributary and dependent vassals of Nortliern brokers and money- 
cliangers 1 Now is the time for the South to begin in earnest the work 
of self-development ! Now is the time to break asunder the fetters of 
commercial subjection, and to prepare for that more complete independ- 
ence that awaits us !" — Rich?nond Enquirer. 

A rail-road from Charlotte to Ealeigh, from which the line 
to navigable waters is already complete, is now building, and 
will much shorten the necessary wagoning of produce to market 
from the central district of the State, and will, doubtless, stimu- 
late a greatly increased production. 

The advantages offered by rail-roads, to the farmers of 
inland districts, are strikingly shown by the following fact: 
A gentleman, near Ealeigh, who had a quantity of wheat to 
dispose of, seeing it quoted at high prices, in a paper of Pe- 
tersburg, Va., and seeing, at the same time, the advertisement 


of a commission-house there, wrote to the latter, making an 
offer of it. The next day he received a reply, by mail, and 
by the train a bundle of sacks, in which he immediately for- 
warded the wheat, and, by the following return mail, received 
his pay, at the rate of $1 20 a bushel, the top price of the 
winter. At the same time, only forty miles from where he 
lived, off the line of the rail-road, wheat was selling at 60 
cents a bushel. There was one county, during the time I 
was in North Carolina, to and through which the roads were 
absolutely impassable, and out of which, I was told, no intelli- 
gence had been received, at the capitol, for more than a month. 
It is not, therefore, incredible that it should cost 60 cents 
to move a bushel of wheat forty miles. 


Kail-roads do not, however, so readily and entirely change 
the channels in which farmers have been accustomed for a 
long time to float their trade, especially in thinly settled dis- 
tricts, as might be expected. I was told of a farmer who 
persisted in wagoning his produce one hundred miles, mak- 
ing several trips during the winter to do so, for several years 
after he had the opportunity of using a cheap and direct 
communication, with a better market, by rail-road. The farmer, 
unaccustomed to the usual mercantile forms, shrinks from them, 
and is afraid to deal in a large way. He does not like to trust 
agents, particularly strangers at a distance, and many in North 
Carolina are unable to deal at all by correspondence. He enjoys 
much more, after the Fall plowing is done, and the horses are 
no longer required for field-work, to hitch them to the big 
wagan, load it with a little of everything he has made, and 


bring it to town, under his own guard and guidance, camping 
o'nights, on the road ; and then, to talk over the news of the 
year, and trade with his old town cronies, as his father used to 
when he was a boy, and he began to go down with him. 
Then, with some new store goods for his family and his 
"people;" molasses, sugar, and coffee, and a new coffee-mill, 
or other Down-east notion, to return leisurely as he went, 
so that, when he reaches home, two or three weeks' absence 
shall make his arrival something of an event. 


Plank-roads, it will be obvious, from these considerations, 
are admirably adapted to all the circumstances of this country. 
They suit the habits of the people, and the value of land be- 
ing small, and the country heavily timbered, they may be built 
at a low cost. On them the farmer may drive his wagon, as 
he has been accustomed in the Winter, but carrying double 
his usual load, and in less time, and with much less liability 
to accidents. 

The first plank-road in the State of New Tork was laid, 
I believe, in 1844, and in 1846 there were several in opera- 
tion ; and the public, generally, began to be informed of 
their mode of construction and their advantages. 

It is creditable to the citizens of North Carolina, that they 
so soon appreciated the peculiar advantages offered them in 
the invention, and took measures to avail themselves of it. 
In 1847 an engineer was procured from New York, and, un- 
der his direction, a plank-road commenced, running west- 
wardly from Fayetteville, into the middle of the productive 
region I have referred to. 


The road so commencing, now forms a great trunk road, 
running northwest more than a hundred miles. From this 
trunk there are many laterals, drawing from districts which 
in the winter season are almost inaccessible by the old earth 
roads. The plank-roads are as good in winter, when the 
farmer has leisure to drive to market, as they are in summer ; 
and he can take upon them a much heavier load, thirty-five 
miles a day, than he formerly wore out his horses and exhausted 
his patience to drag seventeen. So well are the advantages 
appreciated in the State, that over forty new companies, for 
building plank-roads, have been incorporated by one legis- 


North Carolina has a proverbial reputation for the igno- 
rance and torpidity of her people ; being, in this respect, at 
the head of the Slave States. I do not find the reason of 
this in any innate quality of the popular mind ; but, rather, 
in the circumstances under which it finds its development. 
Owing to the general poverty of the soil in the Eastern part 
of the State, and to the almost exclusive employment of slave- 
labor on the soils productive of cotton; owing, also, to the 
difficulty and expense of reaching market with bulky produce 
from the interior and western districts, population and wealth 
is more divided than in the other Atlantic States ; industry is 
almost entirely rural, and there is but little communication 
or concert of action among the small and scattered proprie- 
tors of capital. For the same reason, the advantages of 
education are more difficult to be enjoyed, the distance at 
which families reside apart preventing children from coming 


together in such numbers as to give remunerative employment 
to a teacher. The teachers are, generally, totally unfitted for 
their business ; young men, as a clergyman informed me, them- 
selves not only unadvanced beyond the lowest knowledge of the 
elements of primary school learning, but often coarse, vulgar, 
and profane in their language and behavior, who take up teach- 
ing as a temporary business, to supply the demand of a neigh- 
borhood of people as ignorant and uncultivated as themselves. 

The native white population of North Carolina is, . 550,267 

The whole white population under 20 years, is, . . 301,106 

Leaving white adults over 20, 249,161 

Of these there are natives who cannot read and write, . 73,226* 

Being more than one fourth of the native white adults. 


iBut the aspect of North Carolina with regard to slavery, 
is, in some respects, less lamentable than that of Vir- 
ginia. There is not only less bigotry upon the subject, 
and more freedom of conversation, „ but I saw here, in 
the institution, more of patriarchal character than in any 
other State. The slave more frequently appears as a family 
servant — a member of his master's family, interested with 
him in his fortune, good or bad. ( This is a result of the 
less concentration of wealth in families or individuals, occasioned 
by the circumstances I have described.^ Slavery thus loses much 
of its inhumanity, /fit is still questionable, however, if, as the 
subject race approaches civilization, the dominant race is not 
proportionately detained in its onward progress. \ One is forced 
often to question, too, in viewing slavery in this aspect, whether 
humanity and the accumulation of wealth, the prosperity of 

* Official Census Report, pp. 309, 1299, 317. 


the master, and the happiness and improvement of the sub- 
ject, are not in some degree incompatible. 


I left Fayetteville in a steam-boat (advertised for 8 o'clock, 
left at 8.45) bound down Cape Fear river to Wilmington. A 
description of the river, with incidents of the passage, will serve 
to show the character of most of the navigable streams of the 
cotton States, flowing into the Atlantic and the Gulf, and of 
the manner of their navigation. 

The water was eighteen feet above its lowest summer stages; 
the banks steep, thirty feet high from the present water surface — 
from fifty to one hundred feet apart — and covered with large 
trees and luxuriant vegetation ; the course crooked ; the current 
very rapid ; the trees overhanging the banks, and frequently 
falling into the channel — making the navigation hazardous. 
The river is subject to very rapid rising. The master told me 
that he had sometimes left his boat aground at night, and, on 
returning in the morning, found it floating in twenty-five feet 
water, over the same spot. The difference between the extremes 
of low stages and floods is as much as seventy feet. In sum- 
mer, there are sometimes but eighteen inches of water on the 
bars : the boat I was in drew but fourteen inches, light. She 
was a stern-wheel craft — the boiler and engine (high pressure) 
being placed at opposite ends, to balance weights. Her burden 
was three hundred barrels, or sixty tons measurement. This is 
the character of most of the boats navigating the river — of 
which there are now twelve. Larger boats are almost useless 
in summer, from their liability to ground ; and even the smaller 


ones, at low stages of water, carry no freight, but are employed 
to tow up "flats," or shallow barges. At this season of the 
year, however, the steamboats are loaded close to the water's 

The bulk of our freight was turpentine ; and the close prox- 
imity of this to the furnaces suggested a danger fully equal to 
that from snags or grounding. On calling the attention of a 
fellow-passenger to it, he told me that a friend of his was once 
awakened from sleep, while lying in a berth on one of these 
boats, by a sudden, confused sound. Thinking the boiler had 
burst, he drew the bed-clothing over his head, and laid quiet, to 
avoid breathing the steam ; until, feeling the boat ground, he ran 
out, and discovered that she was on fire near the furnace. Hav- 
ing some valuable freight near by, which he was desirous to 
save, and seeing no immediate danger, though left alone on the 
boat, he snatched a bucket, and, drawing water from alongside, 
applied it with such skill and rapidity as soon to quench the 
flames, and eventually to entirely extinguish the fire. Upon the 
return of the crew, a few repairs were made, steam was got up 
again, and the boat proceeded to her destination in safety. He 
afterwards ascertained that three hundred kegs of gunpowder 
were stowed beneath the deck that had been on fire — a circum- 
stance which sufficiently accounted for the panic-flight of the 


Soon after leaving, we passed the Zephyr, wooding-up : an 

hour later, our own boat was run to the bank, men jumped from 

her fore and aft, and fastened head and stern lines to the 

trees, and we also commenced wooding. 


The trees had been cut away so as to leave a clear space to 
the top of the bank, which was some fifty feet from the boat, 
and moderately steep. Wood, cut, split, and piled in ranks, 
stood at the top of it, and a shoot of plank, two feet wide and 
thirty long, conveyed it nearly to the water. The crew rushed 
to the wood-piles — master, passengers, and all, but the engineer 
and chambermaid, deserting the boat — and the wood was first 
passed down, as many as could, throwing into the shoot, and 
others forming a line, and tossing it, from one to another, down 
the bank. From the water's edge it was passed, in the same 
way, to its place on board, with great rapidity — the crew 
exciting themselves with yells. They were all blacks, but one. 

On a tree, near the top of the bank, a little box was nailed, 
on which a piece of paper was tacked, with this inscription : 

" fo ate feezdon* iaft>w?/ / wood tiom, tntd- tanavn/ /i/eaa 
" to /eav a ticket Aauavie/ to €ne/ aavdettvez, at 
" J>/,'/5 a cold ad nezetotoiet 

" Q^moa d%4ed." 

and the master — -just before the wood was all on board — hastily 
filled a blank order (torn from a book, like a check-book, leaving 
a memorandum of the amount, etc.) on the owner of the boat 
for payment, to Mr. Sikes, for two cords of pine-wood, at $1 75, 
and two cords of light-wood, at $2 — and left it in the box. The 
wood used had been measured in the ranks with a rod, carried 
for the purpose, by the master, at the moment he reached the 


Before, with, all possible haste, we had finished wooding, the 
Zephyr passed us ; and, during the rest of the day, she kept 
out of our sight. As often as Ave met a steam-boat, or 
passed any flats or rafts, our men were calling out to know 
how far ahead of us she was ; and when the answer came back 
each time, in an increasing number of miles, they told us that 
our boat was more than usually sluggish, owing to an uncom- 
monly heavy freight ; but, still, for some time, they were ready 
to make bets that we should get first to Wilmington. 

Several times we were hailed from the shore, to take on a pas- 
senger, or some light freight ; and these requests, as long as it 
was possible, were promptly complied with — the boat being run 
up, so as to rest her bow upon the bank, and then shouldered 
off by the men, as if she had been a skiff. 


There were but three through-passengers, besides myself. 
Among them, was a glue-manufacturer, of Baltimore — getting 
orders from the turpentine-distillers — and a turpentine-farmer and 
distiller. The glue-manufacturer said that, in his factory, they had 
formerly employed slaves ; had since used Irishmen, and now 
employed Germans altogether. Their operations were carried 
on night and day, and one gang of the men had to relieve 
another. The slaves they had employed never would be on hand, 
when the hour for relieving came. It was also necessary to be 
careful that certain operations should be performed at a certain 
time, and some judgment and watchfulness was necessary, to fix 
this time : the slaves never could be made to care enough for the 
matter, to be depended upon for discretion, in this respect ; and 
great injury was frequently done in consequence. Some of the 


operations were disagreeable, and they would put one another 
up to thinking and saying that they ought not to be required to 
do such dirty work — and try to have their owners get them 
away from it. 

Irishmen, he said, worked very well and, to a certain extent, 
faithfully, and, for a time, they liked them very much ; but they 
found that, in about a fortnight, an Irishman always thought he 
knew more than his master, and would exercise his discretion a 
little too much, as well as often directly disregard his orders. 
Irishmen were, he said, " too faithful" — that is, self-confident 
and officious. 

At length, at a hurried time, they had employed one or 
two Germans. The Irishmen, of course, soon quarreled with 
them, and threatened to leave, if they were kept. Where- 
upon, they were, themselves, all discharged, and a full crew 
of Germans, at much less wages, taken ; and they proved 
excellent hands — steady, plodding, reliable, though they never 
pretended to know anything, and said nothing about what 
they could do. They were easily instructed, obeyed orders 
faithfully, and worked fairly for their wages, without boasting 
or grumbling. 

The turpentine-distiller gave a good account of some of his 
men ; but said he was sure they never performed half so much 
work as he himself could; and they sometimes would, of their 
own accord, do twice as much, in a day, as could usually be got 
out of them. He employed a Scotchman at the " still ;" but he 
never would have white people at ordinary work, because he 
couldn't drive them. He added, with the utmost simplicity — 
and I do not think any one present saw, at the time, how much 
tne remark expressed more than it was intended to — " I never can 


drive a white man, for I know I could never bear to be driven 
myself, by anybody." 

The other passenger was " a North of England man," as I 
suspected from the first words I heard from him — though he had 
been in this country for about twenty years. He was a 
mechanic, and employed several slaves ; but testified strongly of 
the expensive character of their labor ; and declared, without any 
reserve, that the system was ruinous in its effects upon the 
character of all classes of working-men. 

The country on the river-bank was nearly all wooded, with, 
occasionally, a field of corn, which, even in the low alluvial 
meadows, sometimes overflowed by the river, and enriched 
by its deposit, had evidently yielded but a very meagre crop — 
the stalks standing singly, at great distances, and very small. 
The greater part, even of these once rich low lands, that had 
been in cultivation, were now " turned out," and covered, either 
with pines, or broom-sedge and brushwood. 

At some seventy or eighty miles, I should think, below Fay- 
etteville, the banks became lower, and there was much swamp 
land, in which the ground was often covered with a confusion of 
logs and sawn lumber, mingled with other rubbish, left by floods 
of the river. The standing timber was very large, and many of 
the trees were hung with the long, waving drapery of the tyllin- 
dria, or Spanish moss, which, as well as the mistletoe, I here first 
saw in profusion. There was also a thick network among the 
trees, of beautiful climbing plants. I observed some very large 
grape-vines, and many trees of greater size than I ever saw of 
their species before. I infer that this soil, properly reclaimed, 
and protected from floods of the river, might be most profitably 
used in the culture of the various half-tropical trees and shrubs, 


of whose fruits we now import so large and costly an amount. 
The fig, I have been informed, grows and bears luxuriantly at 
Wilmington, seldom or never suffering in its wood, though a 
crop of fruit may be occasionally injured by a severe late spring 
"frost. The almond, doubtless, would succeed equally well, so 
also the olive ; but of none of these is there the slightest com- 
mercial value produced in North Carolina, or in all our country. 

In the evening we passed many boats and rafts, blazing with 
great fires, made upon a thick bed of clay, and their crews sing- 
ing at their sweeps. Twenty miles above Wilmington, the 
shores became marshy, the river wide, and the woody screen that 
had hitherto, in a great degree, hid the nakedness of the land, 
was withdrawn, leaving open to view only broad, reedy savan- 
nahs, on either side. 

We reached Wilmington, the port at the mouth of the river, 
at half-past nine. Taking a carriage, I was driven first to one 
hotel, and afterwards to another. They were both so crowded 
with guests, and excessive business duties so prevented the 
clerks from being tolerably civil to me, that I feared if I re- 
mained in either of them, I should have another Norfolk experi- 
ence. While I was endeavoring to ascertain if there was a third 
public-house, in which I might, perhaps, obtain a private room, 
my eye fell upon an advertisement of a new rail-road line of 
passage to Charleston. A boat, to take passengers to the rail- 
road, was to start every night from Wilmington, at ten o'clock. 
It was already something past ten, but being pretty sure that 
she would not get off punctually, and having a strong resisting 
impulse to being packed away in a close room, with any chance 
stranger the clerk of the house might choose to couple me with, 
I shouldered my baggage, and ran for the wharves. At half- 


past ten I was looking at Wilmington over the stern of another 
little wheelbarrow-steamboat, pushing back up the river. When 
or how I was to be taken to Charleston, I had not yet been 
able to ascertain. The captain assured me it was all right, and 
demanded twenty dollars. Being in his power, I gave it to him, 
and received in return a pocketful of tickets, guaranteeing the 
bearer passage from place to place ; not one of which places had 
I ever heard of before, except Charleston. 

The cabin was small, dirty, crowded, close and smoky. Find- 
ing a warm spot in the deck, over the furnace, and to leeward of 
the chimney, I pillowed myself on my luggage, and went to 

The ringing of the boat's bell awoke me, after no great lapse 
of time, and I found we were in a small creek, heading south- 
ward. Presently we reached a wharf, near which stood a loco- 
motive and train. A long, narrow plank having been run out, 
half a dozen white men, including myself, went on shore. Then 
followed as many negroes, who appeared to be a recent pur- 
chase of their owner. Owing, probably, to an unusually low tide, 
there was a steep ascent from the boat to the wharf, and I was 
amused to see the anxiety of this gentleman for the safe landing 
of his property, and especially to hear him curse them for their 
carelessness, as if their lives were of much greater value to him 
than to themselves. One of them was a woman. All carried over 
their shoulders some little baggage, probably all their personal 
effects, slung in a blanket ; and one had a dog, whose safe land- 
ing caused him nearly as much anxiety as his own did his 

"■ Gib me da dog, now," said the dog's owner, standing half 
way up the plank. 


"Damn the dog," said the negro's owner; "give me your 
hand up here. Let go of the dog ; d'ye hear ! Let him take 
care of himself." 

But the negro hugged the dog, and "brought him safely on 

After a short delay, the train started : the single passenger car 
was a very fine one (made at Wilmington, Delaware), and just 
sufficiently warmed. I should have slept again if it had not 
been that two of the six inmates were drunk — one of them up- 
roariously, and the other blandly. The latter had got pos- 
sessed with the idea that I was the conductor — probably because 
I wore a cap — and in whatever part of the car I seated myself, 
would, as often as once in five minutes, come to make some 
inquiry of me, usually first apologizing with, " Hope I don't in- 
trude, sir, as the immortal says." 



Passing through long stretches of cypress swamps, with occa- 
sional intervals of either pine-barrens, or clear water ponds, in 
about two hours we came, in the midst of the woods, to the end 
of the rails. In the vicinity could be seen a small tent, a shanty 
of loose boards, and a large, subdued fire, around which, upon 
the ground, there were a considerable number of men, stretched 
out asleep. This was the camp of the hands engaged in laying 
the rails, and who were thus daily extending the distance which 
the locomotive could run. 

The conductor told me that there was here a break of about 
eighty miles in the rail, over which I should be transferred by a 
stage coach, which would come as soon as possible after the 
driver knew that the train had arrived. To inform him of this, 
the locomotive screamed loud and long. 

The negro property, which had been brought up in a freight 
car, was immediately let out on the stoppage of the train. As 
it stepped on to the platform, its owner asked, "Are you all 

"Yes, massa, we is all heah," answered one; "Do dysef no 
harm, for we's all heah," added another, quoting Saint Peter, in 
an under tone. 

The negroes immediately gathered some wood, and, taking a 


brand from the rail-road hands, made a fire for themselves ; then, 
all but the woman, opening their bundles, wrapped themselves in 
their blankets and went to sleep. The woman, bare-headed, and 
very inadequately clothed as she was, stood for a long time 
alone, perfectly still, erect and statue-like, with her head bowed, 
gazing in the fire. She had taken no part in the light chat of 
the others, and had given them no assistance in making the fire. 
Her dress, too, was not the usual plantation apparel. It was- all 
sadly suggestive. 

The principal other freight of the train was one hundred and 
twenty bales of northern hay. It belonged, as the conductor 
told me, to a planter who lived some twenty miles beyond here, 
and who had bought it in Wilmington at a dollar and a half a 
hundred weight, to feed to his mules. Including the steam-boat 
and rail-road freight, and all the labor of getting it to his stables, 
its entire cost to him would not be much less than two dollars a 
hundred. This would be at least four times as much as it would 
have cost to raise and make it in the interior of New York or 
New England. Now, there are not only several forage crops 
which can be raised in South Carolina, that cannot be grown on 
account of the severity of the winter in the free States, but, on a 
farm near Fayetteville, a few days before, I had seen a crop of 
natural grass growing in half-cultivated land, dead upon the 
ground ; which, I think, would have made, if it had been cut and 
well treated in the summer, three tons of hay to the acre. The 
owner of the land said that there was no better hay than it would 
have made, but he hadn't had time to attend to it. He had as 
much as his hands could do of other work at the period of the 
year when it should have been made. 

Probably the case was similar with the planter who had bought 


this northern hay at a price four times that which it would have 
cost a northern farmer to make it. He had preferred to employ 
his slaves at other business. 

The inference must be either that there was most improbably- 
foolish, bad management, or that the slaves were more profitably 
employed in cultivating cotton, than they could have been in 
cultivating maize, or other forage crops. 

I put the case, some days afterwards, to an English mer- 
chant, who had had good opportunities, and made it a part of 
his business, to study such matters. 

" I' have no doubt," said he, " that, if hay cannot be ob- 
tained here, other valuable forage can, with less labor than any- 
where at the North ; and all the Southern agricultural journals 
sustain this opinion, and declare it to be purely bad manage- 
ment that neglects these crops, and devotes labor to cotton, 
so exclusively. Probably, it is so — at the present cost of forage. 
Nevertheless, the fact is also true, as the planters assert, that 
they cannot afford to apply their labor to anything else but 
cotton. And yet, they complain that the price of cotton is so 
low, that there is no profit in growing it ; which is evidently 
false. You see that they prefer buying hay, to raising it, at, to 
say the least, three times what it costs your Northern farmers to 
raise it. Of course, if cotton could be grown in New York and 
Ohio, it could be afforded at one-third the cost it is here — 
say at three cents per pound. And that is my solution of the 
Slavery question, firing cotton down to three cents a pound, 
and there would be more abolitionists in South Carolina than 
in Massachusetts. If that can be brought about, in any 
way — and it is not impossible that we may live to see it, as 
our railways are extended in India, and the French enlarge 


their free-labor plantations in Algiers — there will be an end of 

It was just one o'clock when the stage-coach came for us. 
There was but one passenger beside myself — a Philadelphia gen- 
tleman, going to Columbia. We proceeded very slowly for 
about three miles, across a swamp, upon a "corduroy road;" 
then more rapidly, over rough ground, being tossed about in the 
coach most severely, for six or eight miles further. Besides the 
driver, there was on the box the agent or superintendent of the 
coach line, who now opened the doors, and we found ourselves 
before a log stable, in the midst of a forest of large pines. The 
driver took out a horse, and, mounting him, rode off, and we col- 
lected wood, splitting it with a hatchet that was carried on the 
coach, and, lighting it from the coach lamp, made a fire. It was 
very cold, ice half an inch thick, and a heavy hoar frost. We 
complained to the agent that there was no straw in the coach 
bottom, while there were large holes bored in it, that kept our 
feet excessively cold. He said that there was no straw to be had 
in the country. They were obliged to bed their horses with 
pine leaves, which were damp, and would be of no service to us. 
The necessity for the holes he did not immediately explain, and 
we, in the exercise of our Yankee privilege, resolved that they 
were made with reference to the habit of expectoration, which we 
had observed in the car to be very general and excessive. 

In about half an hour the driver of the new stage came to us 
on the horse that the first had ridden away. A new set of 
horses was brought out, and attached to the coach, and we were 
driven on again. An hour later, the sun rose ; we were still in 
pine-barrens, once in several miles passing through a clear- 
ing, with a log farm-house, and a few negro huts about it ; often 


through cypress swamps, and long pools of water. At the end 
of ten miles we breakfasted, and changed horses and drivers at a 
steam saw-mill. A few miles further on, we were asked to get 
on the top of the coach, while it was driven through a swamp, 
in which the water was over the road, for a quarter of a mile, to 
such a depth that it covered the foot-board. The horses really 
groaned, as they pushed the thin ice away with their necks, and 
were very near swimming. The holes in the coach bottom, the 
agent now told us, were to allow the water that would here enter 
the body to flow out. At the end of these ten miles we changed 
again, at a cotton planter's house — a very neat, well-built house, 
having pine trees about it, but very poor, old, negro quarters. 

Since the long ford we had kept the top, the inside of the 
coach being wet, and I had been greatly pleased with the driving 
— the coachman, a steady, reliable sort of fellow, saying but 
little to his horses, and doing what swearing he thought neces- 
sary in English; driving, too, with great judgment and skill. 
The coach was a fine, roomy, old-fashioned, fragrant, leathery 
affair, and the horses the best I had seen this side of Virginia. I 
could not resist expressing my pleasure with the whole estab- 
lishment. The new team was admirable ; four sleek, well-gov- 
erned, eager, sorrel cobs, and the driver, a staid, bronzed-faced 
man, keeping them tight in hand, drove quietly and neatly, his 
whip in the socket. After about fifteen minutes, during which 
he had been engaged in hushing down their too great impetu- 
osity, he took out a large silver hunting-watch, and asked what 
time it was. 

" Quarter past eleven," said the agent. 

" Twelve minutes past," said the Philadelphian. 

" Well, fourteen, only, I am," said the agent. 


" Thirteen," said I. 

"Just thirteen, I am," said the driver, slipping back his watch 
to its place, and then, to the agent, " ha'an't touched a hand of 
her since I left old Lancaster." 

Suddenly guessing the meaning of what had been for some 
time astonishing me — " You are from the North ?" I asked. 

"Yes, sir." 

" And you, too, Mr. Agent <?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And the coach, and the cattle, and all?" 

" All from Pennsylvania." 

" How long have you been here?" 

"We have been here about a fortnight, stocking the road. 
We commenced regular trips yesterday. You are the first pas- 
senger through, sir." 

It was, in fact, merely a transfer from one of the old National 
Eoad lines, complete. After a little further conversation, I 
asked, " How do you like the country, here ?" 

" Very nice country," said the agent. 

" Eather poor soil, I should say." 

" It's the cussedest poor country God ever created," snapped 
out the driver. 

" You have to keep your horses on " 

" Shucks ! damn it." 


The character of the scenery was novel to me, the surface very 
flat, the soil a fine-grained, silvery white sand, shaded by a con- 
tinuous forest of large pines, which had shed their lower branches, 
so that we could see from the coach-top, to the distance of a 


quarter of a mile, everything upon the ground. In the swamps, 
which were frequent and extensive, and on their "borders, the 
pines gave place to cypresses, with great pedestal trunks, and 
protuberant roots, throwing up an awkward dwarf progeny of 
shrub cypress, and curious bulbous-like stumps, called " cypress- 
knees." Mingled with these were a few of our common decidu- 
ous trees, the white-shafted sycamore, the gray beech, and the 
shrubby black-jack oak, with broad leaves, brown and dead, yet 
glossy, and reflecting the sun-beams. Somewhat rarely, the red 
cedar, and, more frequently than any other except the cypress, 
the beautiful holly. Added to these, there was often a thick un- 
dergrowth of evergreen shrubs. Vines and creepers of various 
kinds grew to the tops of the tallest trees, and dangled beneath 
and between their branches, in intricate net-work. The tylandria 
hung in festoons, sometimes several feet in length, and often 
completely clothed the trunks, and every branch of the trees in 
the low ground. It is like a fringe of tangled hair, of a light 
gray pearly color, and sometimes produces exquisite effects when 
slightly veiling the dark green, purple and scarlet of the cedar, 
and the holly with their berries. The mistletoe also grew in 
large, vivid, green tufts, on the ends of the branches of the 
oldest and largest trees. A small, fine and wiry, dead grass, 
hardly perceptible, even in the most open ground, from the 
coach tops, was the only sign of herbage. Large black buz- 
zards were constantly in sight, sailing slowly, high above the 
tree-tops. Flocks of larks, quails, and robins were common, as 
were also doves, swiftly flying in small companies. The red- 
headed woodpecker could at any time be heard hammering the 
old tree-trunks, and would sometimes show himself, after his rat- 
tat, cocking his head archly, and listening to hear if the worm 


moved under the bark. The drivers told me that they had, on 
previous days, as they went over the road, seen deer, turkeys, 
and wild hogs. 


At every tenth mile, or thereabout, we changed horses ; and, 
generally, were allowed half an hour, to stroll in the neighbor- 
hood of the stable — the agent observing that we could reach the 
end of the staging some hours before the cars should leave to 
take us further ; and, as there were no good accommodations for 
sleeping there, we would pass the time quite as pleasantly on the 
road. We dined at " Marion County House," a pleasant little 
village (and the only village we saw during the day), with a fine 
pine-grove, a broad street, a court-house, a church or two, a school- 
house, and a dozen or twenty dwellings. Towards night, we 
crossed the Great Pedee of the maps, the Big Pedee of the natives, 
in a flat-boat. A large quantity of cotton, in bales, was upon 
the bank, ready for loading into a steam-boat — when one should 
arrive — for Charleston. 

The country was very thinly peopled; lone houses often 
being several miles apart. The large majority of the dwell- 
ings were of logs, and even those of the white people 
were often without glass windows. In the better class of 
cabins, the roof is usually built with a curve, so as to project 
eight or ten feet beyond the log-wall ; and a part of this space, 
exterior to the logs, is inclosed with boards, making an 
additional small room — the remainder forms an open porch. 
The whole cabin is often elevated on four corner-posts, two or 
three feet from the ground, so that the air may circulate under 
it. The fire-place is built at the end of the house, of sticks and 



clay, and the chimney is carried up outside, and often detached 
from the log-walls ; but the roof is extended at the gable, until 
in a line with its outer side. The porch has a railing in front, 

and a wide shelf at the end, on which a bucket of water, a 

gourd, and hand-basin, are usually placed. There are chairs, or 

benches, in the porch, and you often see women sitting at work 

in it, as in Germany. 

The logs are usually hewn but little ; and, of course, as they 

are laid up, there will be wide interstices between them — which 

are increased by subsequent shrinking. These, very commonly, 

are not " chinked," or filled up in any way ; nor is the wall lined 

on the inside. Through the chinks, as you pass along the road, 


you may often see all tliat is going on in the house ; and, at 
night, the light of the fire shines brightly out on all sides. 

Cabins, of this class, would almost always be flanked by two 
or three negro-huts. The cabins of the poorest class of whites 
were of a meaner sort — being mere square pens of logs, roofed 
over, provided with a chimney, and usually with a shed of 
boards, supported by rough posts, before the door. 

Occasionally, where the silvery sand was darkened by a 
considerable intermixture of mould, there would be a large 
plantation, with negro-quarters, and a cotton-press and gin- 
house. We passed half a dozen of these, perhaps, during the 
day. Where the owners resided in them, they would have 
comfortable-looking residences, not unlike the better class of 
New England farm-houses. On the largest one, however, 
there was no residence for the owner, at all, only a small cot- 
tage, or whitewashed cabin, for the overseer. It was a very 
large plantation, and all the buildings were substantial and 
commodious, except the negro-cabins, which were the smallest 
I had seen — I thought not more than twelve feet square, in- 
teriorly. They stood in two rows, with a wide street between 
them. They were built of logs, with no windows — no opening 
at all, except the doorway, with a chimney of sticks and mud; 
with no trees about them, no porches, or shades, of any kind. 
Except for the chimney — the purpose of which I should nol 
readily have guessed — if I had seen one of them in New England. 
I should have conjectured that it had been built for a powder- 
house, or perhaps an ice-house — never for an animal to sleep in. 

We stopped, for some time, on this plantation, near where 
some thirty men and women were at work, repairing the road. 
The women were in majority, and were engaged at exactly the 



same labor as the men ; driving the carts, loading them with 
dirt, and dumping them upon the road; cutting down trees, and 
drawing wood by hand, to lay across the miry places ; hoeing, 
and shoveling. 

They were dressed in coarse gray gowns, generally very much 
burned, and very dirty ; which, for greater convenience of work- 
ing in the mud, were reefed up with a cord drawn tightly around 
the body, a little above the hips — the spare amount of skirt 
bagging out between this 'and the waist-proper. On their legs 
were loose leggins, or pieces of .blanket or bagging wrapped 
about, and lashed with thongs ; and they wore very heavy shoes. 
Most of them had handkerchiefs, only, tied around their heads, 


some wore men's caps, or old slouched hats, and several were 

The overseer rode about among them, on a horse, carrying in 
his hand a raw-hide whip,, constantly directing and encouraging 
them ; but, as my companion and I, both, several times noticed, 
as often as he visited one end of the line of operations, the hands 
at the other end would discontinue their labor, until he turned 
to ride towards them again. Clumsy, awkward, gross, ele- 
phantine in all their movements ; pouting, grinning, and leering 
at us ; sly, sensual, and shameless, in all their expressions and 
demeanor ; I never before had witnessed, I thought, anything 
more revolting than the whole scene. 

At length, the overseer dismounted from his horse, and, giving 
him to a boy to take to the stables, got upon the coach, and 
rode with us several miles. From the conversation I had with 
him, as well as from what I saw of his conduct in the field, I 
judged that he was an uncommonly fit man for his duties ; at 
least ordinarily amiable in disposition, and not passionate ; but 
deliberate, watchful, and efficient. I thought he would be not 
only a good economist, but a firm and considerate officer or master. 

If these women, and their children after them, were always 
naturally and necessarily to remain of the character and capacity 
stamped on their faces — as is probably the opinion of their 
owner, in common with most wealthy'South Carolina planters — 
I don't know that they could be much less miserably situated, 
or guided more for their own good and that of the world, than 
they were. They were fat enough, and didn't look as if they 
were at all overworked, or harassed by cares, or oppressed by a 
consciousness of their degradation. If that is all — as some 


Afterwards, while we were changing at a house near a cross- 
ing of roads, strolling off in the woods for a short distance, I 
came upon two small white-topped wagons, each with a pair 
of horses feeding at its pole ; near them was a dull camp fire, 
with a bake-kettle and coffee-pot, some blankets and a chest 
npon the ground; and an old negro, sitting with his head 
bowed down over a meal sack, while a negro boy was combing 
his wool with a common horse-card. " Good evening, uncle," 
said I, approaching them. " Good evening, sar," he answered, 
without looking up. 

"Where are you going?" 

" Well, we ain't goin' nower, master ; we's peddlin' tobacco 

" Oh ! peddling tobacco. Where did you come from ?" 

"From Eockingham County, Norf Car'lina, master." 

" How long have you been coming from there ?" 

"'Twill be seven weeks, to-morrow, sar, since we left home." 

"Have you most sold out?" 

" We had a hundred and seventy-five boxes in both wagons, 
and we's sold all but sixty. Want to buy some tobacco, mas- 
ter?" (Looking up.) 

" No, thank you ; I am only waiting here, while the coach 
changes. How much tobacco is there in a box ?" 

"Seventy-five pound." 

"Are these the boxes?" 

" No, them is our provision boxes, master. Show de gemman 
some of der tobacco, dah." (To the boy.) 

A couple of negroes here passed along near us ; the old 
man hailed them : 

" Ho dah, boys ! Doan you want to buy some backey ?" 


"No." (Decidedly.) 

" Well, I'm sorry for it." (Eeproaclifully.) 

" Are you bound homeward, now?" I asked. 

" No, massa ; wish me was ; got to sell all our tobackey fuss ; 
you don't want none, master, does you? Doan you tink it 
pretty fair tobacco, sar, just try it : its right sweet, reckon you'll 

" I don't wish any, thank you ; I never use it. Is your 
master with you ?" 

"No, sar; he's gone across to Marion, to-day." 

"Do you like to be traveling about, in tbis way?" 

" Yes, master ; I likes it very well." 

" Better than staying at home, eh ?" 

" Well, I likes my country better dan dis ; must say dat, 
master, likes my country better dan dis. I'se a free nigger 
in my country, master." 

" Oh, you are a free man, are you ! North Carolina is a bet- 
ter country than this, for free men, I suppose." 

" Yes, master, I likes my country de best ; I gets five dollar 
a month for dat boy." (Hastily, to change the subject.) 

"He is your son, is he?" 

" Yes, sar ; he drives dat wagon. I drives dis ; and I haant 
seen him fore, master, for six weeks, till dis mornin'." 

"How were you separated?" 

" We separated six weeks ago, sar, and we agreed to meet 
here, last night. We didn', dough, till dis mornin'." 

The old man's tone softened, and he regarded his son with 

" 'Pears dough, we was bofe heah, last night ; but I couldn't 
find dem till dis mornin'. Dis mornin' some niggars tole me 


dar war a niggar camped off yander in de wood ; and I knew 
'twas him, and I went an' found him right off." 

"And what wages do you get for yourself?" 

" Ten dollars a month, master." 

" That's pretty good wages." 

" Yes, master, any niggar can get good wages if he's a mind 
to be industrious, no matter wedder he's slave or free." 

"So you don't like this country as well as North Carolina?" 

" No, master. Fac is, master, 'pears like wite folks doan gine- 
rally like niggars in dis country ; day doan' ginerally talk so to 
niggars like as do in my country, ; de niggars ain't so happy 
heah; 'pears like de wite folks was kind" o' different, somehow. 
I doan' like dis country so well; my country suits me very 

"Well, I've been thinking, myself, the niggers did not 
look so well here as they did in North Carolina and Virginia ; 
they are not so well clothed, and they don't appear so bright as 
they do there." 

" Well, massa, Sundays dey is mighty well clothed, dis country ; 
'pears like dere an't nobody looks better Sundays dan dey 
do. But Lord! workin' days, seems like dey haden no close 
dey could keep on 'um at all, master. Dey is a'mos' naked, wen 
deys at work, some on 'em. Why, master, up in our country, 
de wite folks, why, some on 'em has ten or twelve niggars ; dey 
doan' hev no real big plantation, like dey has heah, but some on 
'em has ten or twelve niggars, may be, and dey juss lives and 
talks along wid 'em; and dey treats 'um most as if dem 
was dar own chile. Dey doan' keep no niggars dey can't treat 
so ; dey wont keep 'em, wont be bodered wid 'em. If dey 
gets a niggar and he doan behave himself, day wont keep him ; 


dey juss tell him, sar, lie must look up anudder master, and 
if lie doan' find hisself one, I tell 'ou, when de trader cum along, 
dey sell him, and he totes him away. Dey allers sell off all de 
bad niggers out of our country ; dat's de Avay all de bad niggal 
and all dem no-account niggar keep a cumin' down heah ; dat's 
de way on't, master." 

"Yes, that's the way of it, I suppose; these big plantations 
are not just the best thing for niggers, I see that plainly." 

"Master, you want raise in dis country, was 'ou?" 

"No; I came from the North." 

" I tort so, sar, I knew 'ou wan't one of dis country people, 
'peared like 'ou was* one o' my country people, way 'ou 
talks ; and I loves dem kine of people. Won't you take 
some whisky, sar?" Heah, you boy! bring dat jug of 
whisky dah, out o' my wagon ; in dah, in dat box under dem 

"No, don't trouble yourself, I am very much obliged to you; 
but I don't like to drink whisky." 

" Like to have you drink some, massa, if you'd like it. You's 
right welcome to it. 'Pears like I knew' you was one' of my 
country people. Ever been in Greensboro' massa? dat's in 

" No, I never was there. I came from New York, further 
North than your country." 

"New York, did 'ou, massa? I heerd New York was what 
dey calls a Free State ; all de niggars free dah." 

" Yes, that is so." 

"Not no slaves at all; well, I expec dat's a good ting, for all 
de niggars to be free. Greensboro' is a right comely town ; 
tain't like dese heah Souf Car'lina towns." 


" I have heard it spoken of as a very beautiful town, and 
there are some very nice people there." 

"Yes, dere's Mr. ■ , I knows him, he's a mighty 

good man." 

" Do you know Mr. ? 

" 0, yes sar, he's a mighty fine man, he is, massa ; ain't no 
better kind of man dan him." 

' "Well, I must go, or the coach will be kept waiting for me. 
Good-by to you." 

"Far' well, master, far' well, 'pears like it's done me good to see 
a man dat's cum out of my country again. Far'well, master." 

We took supper at an exquisitely neat log-cabin, standing 
a short distance off the road, with a beautiful ever-green 
oak, the first I had observed, in front of it. There was no 
glass in the windows, but drapery of white muslin restrained 
the currents of air, and during the day would let in sufficient 
light, while a great blazing wood-fire both warmed and lighted 
the room by night. A rifle and powder-horn hung near ihe 
fire-place, and the master of the house, a fine, hearty, companion- 
"able fellow, said that he had lately shot three deer, and that there 
were plenty of cats, and foxes, as well as turkeys, hares, squir- 
rels and other small game in the vicinity. It was a perfectly charm- 
ing little backwoods farm-house, good wife, supper, and all ; 
but one disagreeable blot darkened the otherwise most agree- 
able picture of rustic civilization — -we were waited upon at table 
by two excessively dirty, slovenly-dressed, negro girls. In 
the rear of the cabin were two hovels, each lighted by large 
fires, and apparently crowded with other slaves belonging to the 




Between nine and ten at night, we reached the end of the 
completed rail-road, coming up in search for that we had left 
the previous night. There was another camp and fire of the 
workmen, and in a little white frame-house we found a company 
of engineers. There were two trains and locomotives on the 
track, and a gang of negroes Avas loading cotton into one of 


I strolled off until I reached an opening in the woods, in 
which was a cotton-field and some negro-cabins, and beyond 
it large girdled trees, among which were two negroes with 
dogs, barking, yelping, hacking, shouting, and whistling, after 
'coons and 'possums. Eeturning to the rail-road, I found a com- 
fortable, warm passenger-car, and, wrapped in my blanket, went 
to sleep. At midnight I was awakened by loud laughter, and, 
looking out, saw that the loading gang of negroes had made 
a fire, and were enjoying a right merry repast. Suddenly, one 
raised such a sound as I never heard before ; a long, loud, musical 
shout, rising, and falling, and breaking into falsetto, his voice ring- 
ing through the woods in the clear, frosty night air, like a bugle- 
call. As he finished, the melody was caught up by another, and 
then, another, and then, by several in chorus. When there 
was silence again, one of them cried out, as if bursting with 
amusement : " Did yer see de dog ? — when I began eeohing, he 
turn roun' an' look me straight into der face ; ha ! ha ! ha !" 
and the whole party broke into the loudest peals of laughter, as 
if it was the very best joke they had ever heard. 

After a few minutes I could hear one urging the rest to come 
to work again, and soon he stepped towards the cotton bales, 


saying, " Come, brederen, come ; let's go at it ; come now. eoho ! 
roll away! eeoko-eeoho-weeioho-i!" — and the rest taking it up 
as before, in a few moments they all had their shoulders to a 
bale of cotton, and were rolling it up the embankment. 

About half-past three, I was awakened again by the whistle of 
the locomotive, answering, I suppose, the horn of a stage-coach, 
which in a few minutes drove up, bringing a mail. A negro 
man and woman, sleeping near me, replenished the fire ; two 
other passengers came in and we started. 

In the w r oods I saw a negro by a fire, while it was still night, 
shaving shingles very industriously. He did not even stop 
to look at the train. No doubt he was a slave, working by 
task, and of his own accord at night, that he might have the 
more daylight for his own purposes. 

The negroes greatly enjoy fine blazing fires in the open 
air, and make them at every opportunity. The train on this 
road was provided with a man and maid-servant to attend to 
the fire and wait on the passengers — a very good arrangement, 
by the way, yet to be adopted on our own long passenger trains. 
When we arrived at a junction where we were to change cars, as 
soon as all the passengers had left the train, they also left ; but 
instead of going into the station-house with us, they immediately 
collected some pine branches and chips, and getting a brand 
from the locomotive, made a fire upon the ground, and seated 
themselves by it. Other negroes soon began to join them, 
and as they approached were called to, " Doan' yer cum widout 
som' wood 1 ? Doan' yer cum widout som' wood!" and every one 
had to make his contribution. At another place, near a cotton 
plantation, I found a woman collecting pine straw into heaps, 


to be carted t> the cattle-pens. She, too, had a fire near 
her. "What are you doing with a fire, aunty?" "Oh, 
jus' to warm my hans wen dey gits cold, massa." The 
weather was then almost uncomfortably warm to a Northern 

We were running during the forenoon, for a hundred miles 
or more, in a southerly direction, on nearly a straight course, 
through about the middle of the State of South Carolina. 
The greater part of this distance, the flat, sandy pine barrens 
continued, scarcely a foot of grading, for many miles at a time, 
having been required in the construction of the rail-road. As 
the swamps, which were still frequent, were crossed on piles and 
tressel-work, the roads must have been built very cheaply — 
the land damages being nothing. We passed from the track 
of one company to that of another, several times during the day 
— the speed was from fifteen to twenty miles an hour, with 
usually very long stoppages at the stations. A conductor said 
they could easily run forty miles, and had done it, including 
stoppages ; but they were forbidden now to make fast time, 
from the injury it did the road — the superstructure being much 
more shaken and liable to displacement in these light sands than 
on our Northern roads. The locomotives that I saw were all 
made in Philadelphia; the cars were all from the Hartford, 
Conn., and Worcester, Mass., manufactories, and, invariably, 
elegant and comfortable. The roads seemed to be doing a 
heavy freighting business with cotton. We passed at the turn- 
outs half a dozen trains, with nearly a thousand bales on each, 
but the number of passengers was always small. A slave coun- 
try can never, it is evident, furnish a passenger traffic of much 
value. I should suppose a majority of the trains, which I 


saw used in the South, were not paying for the fuel and wages 
expended in running them. 

For an hour or two we got above the sandy zone, and into 
the second, middle, or " wave " region of the State. The sur- 
face here was extremely undulating, gracefully swelling and 
dipping in bluffs and dells — the soil a mellow, brown loam, with 
some indications of fertility, especially in the valleys. Yet most 
of the ground was occupied by pine woods (probably old-field 
pines, on exhausted cotton-fields.) For a few miles, on a gently 
sloping surface of the same sort of soil, there were some enor- 
mously large cotton-fields. 

I saw women working again, in large gangs, with men. In 
one case they were distributing manure — ditch scrapings it ap- 
peared to be — and the mode of operation was this : the manure 
had been already carted into heaps upon the ground ; a number 
of the women were carrying it from the heap in baskets, on their 
heads, and one hi her apron, and spreading it with their hands 
between the ridges on which the cotton grew last year ; the rest 
followed with great, long-handled, heavy, clumsy hoes, and 
pulled down the ridges over the manure, and so made new 
ridges for the next planting. I asked a young planter who 
continued with me a good part of the day, why they did not nse 
plows. He said this was rather rough land, and a plow wouldn't 
work in it very well. It was light soil, and smooth enough for 
a parade ground. The fact is, in certain parts of South Carolina, 
a plow is yet an almost unknown instrument of tillage. 

About noon we turned east, on a track running direct to 
Charleston. Pine barrens continued alternating with swamp, 
with some cotton and corn-fields on the edges of the latter. A 
few of the pines were "boxed" for turpentine ; and I understood 


that one or two companies from North Carolina had been ope- 
rating here for several years. Plantations were not very often 
seen along the road through the sand, but stations, at which 
cotton was stored and loading, were comparatively frequent. 

At one of the stations an empty car had been attached to the 
train; I had gone into it, and was standing at one end of it, 
when an elderly countryman with a young woman and three little 
children entered and took seats at the other. The old man 
took out a roll of deerskin, in which were bank-bills, and some 
small change. 

" How much did he say 'twould be ?" he inquired. 

" Seventy cents." 

"For both on us?' 

" For each on us." 

" Both on us, I reckon." 

" Eeckon it's each." 

" I've got jess seventy-five cents in hard money." 

" Give it to him, and tell him it's all yer got ; reckon he'll let 
us go." 

At this I moved, to attract their attention ; the old man 
started, and looked towards me for a moment, and said no more. 
I soon afterwards walked out on the platform, passing him, and 
the conductor came in, and collected their fare ; I then returned, 
and stood near them, looking out the window of the door. The 
old man had a good-humored, thin, withered, very brown face, 
and there was a speaking twinkle in his eye. He was dressed 
in clothes much of the Quaker cut — a broad-brimmed, low hat ; 
white cotton shirt, open in front, and without cravat, showing 
his hairy breast ; a long-skirted, snuff-colored coat, of very coarse 
homespun, short trowsers, of brown drilling, red woolen stock- 


ings, and heavy cow-hide shoes. He presently asked the time 
of day ; I gave it to him, and we continued in conversation, as 
follows : 

"Eight cold weather." 


"G'wine to Branchville?" 

" I am going beyond there — to Charleston." 

" Ah — come from Hamburg this mornin'?" 

" No — from beyond there." 

"Did ye? — where 'd you come from?" 

"From Wilmington." 

" How long yer ben comin' ?" 

" I left Wilmington night before last, about ten o'clock. I 
have been ever since on the road." 

" Eeckon yer a night-bird." 


" Eeckon you are a night-bird — what we calls a night-hawk, 
keeps a goin' at night, you know." 

" Yes — I've been going most of two nights." 

" Eeckon so, kinder red your eyes is. Live in Charleston, 
do ye ?" 

" No, I live in New York." 

"New York — that's a good ways, yet, aint it?" 

" Yes." 

" Eeckon yer arter a chicken, up here." 


"Ah, ha — reckon ye are." 

The young woman laughed, lifted her shoulder, and looked 
out the window. 

" Eeckon ye'll get somebody's chicken." 


" I'm afraid not." 

The young woman laughed again, and tossed her head. 

" Oh, reckon ye will — ah, ha ! But yer mustn't mind my 

" Not at all, not at all. Where did you come from ?" 

" Up here to ; g'wine hum ; g'wine to stop down here, 

next deeper. How do you go, w'en you get to Charleston ?" 

" I am going on to New Orleans." 

"Is New York beyond New Orleans'?" 

"Beyond New Orleans'? Oh, no." 

" In New Orleans, is't?" 


u New York is somewhere in New Orleans, ain't itV 

"No; it's the other way — beyond Wilmington." 

" Oh ! Been pretty cold thar ?" 

" Tes ; there was a foot and a half of snow there, last week, I 

"Lord o'massy ! why! have to feed all the cattle! — whew! — 
ha! — whew! — don't wonner ye com' away." 

" You are a farmer." 

" Yes." 

" Well, I am a farmer, too." 

" Be ye— to New Yorkf ' 

" Yes ; how much land have you got ?" 

"A hundred and twenty-five acres; how much have you?" 

"Just about the same. What's your land worth, here ?" 

" Some on't — what Ave call swamp-land — kinder low and wet 
like, you know — that's worth five dollars an acre ; and mainly 
it's worth a dollar and a half or two dollars — that's takin' a 
common trac' of upland. What's yours worth?" 


" A hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars." 


" A hundred and fifty to two hundred." 



" Not an acre V ' 

" Yes." 

" Good Lord ! yer might as well buy niggers to onst. Do 
you work any niggers ?" 


" May be they don't have niggers — that is, slaves — to New 

"No, we do not. It's against the law." 

" Yes, I heerd 'twas, some place. How do yer get yer work 

" I hire white men — Irishmen, generally." 

" Do they work good ?" 

" Yes, better than negroes, I think, and don't cost nearly as 

"What do yer have to give 'em?" 

"Eight or nine dollars a month, and board, for common 
lands, by the year." 

" Hi, Lordy ! and they work up right smart, do they ? Why, 
fer can't get any kind of a good nigger less'n twelve dollars a 

"And board?" 

" And board 'em ? yes ; and clothe, and blank, and shoe 
'em, too." 

He owned no negroes himself, and did not hire any. " They," 
his family, "made their own crap." They raised maize, and 


sweet potatoes, and cow-peas. He reckoned, in general, they 
made about three barrels of maize to the acre ; sometimes, as much 
as five. He described to me, as a novelty, a plow, with " a sort 
of a wing, like, on one side," that pushed off, and turned over a 
slice of the ground ; from which it appeared that he had, until 
recently, never seen a mould-board ; the common plows of this 
country being constructed on the same principles as those of the 
Chinese, and only rooting the ground, like a hog or a mole 
— not cleaving and turning. He had never heard of work- 
ing a plow with more than one horse. He was frank and 
good-natured ; embarrassed his daughter by coarse jokes about 
herself and her babies, and asked me if I would not go home 
with him, and, when I declined, pressed me to come and see 
them when I returned. That I might do so, he gave me direc- 
tions how to get to his farm ; observing, that I must start pretty 
early in the day — because it would not be safe for a stranger to 
try to cross the swamp after dark. The moment the train 
began to check its speed, before stopping at the place at which 
he was to leave, he said to his daughter, " Come, gal ! quick 
now ; gather up yer young ones !" and stepped out, pulling her 
after him, on to the platform. As they walked off*, I noticed 
that he strode ahead, like an Indian or a gipsy-man, and she 
carried in her arms two of the children and a bundle, while the 
third child held to her skirts. 

A party of fashionably-dressed people took the train for 
Charleston. Two families, apparently, returning from a visit 
to their plantations. They came to the station in handsome 
coaches. Some minutes before the rest, there entered the car, 
in which I was then again alone, and reclining on a bench in 
the corner, an old nurse, with a baby, and two young negro 


women, having care of half a dozen children, mostly girls, from 
three to fifteen years of age. As they closed the door, the negro 
girls seemed to resume a conversation, or quarrel. Their lan- 
guage was loud and obscene, such as I never heard before from 
any but the most "depraved and beastly women of the streets. 
Upon observing me, they dropped their voices, but not with any 
appearance of shame, and continued their altercation, until their 
mistresses entered. The white children, in the mean time, had 
listened, without any appearance of wonder or annoyance. The 
moment the ladies opened the door, they became silent. 

From the Southern Cultivator, June, 1855. 
" Children are fond of the company of negroes, not only because the de- 
ference shown them makes them feel perfectly at ease, but the subjects of 
conversation are on a level with their capacity ; while the simple tales, and 
the witch and ghost stories, so common among negroes, excite the young 
imagination and enlist the feelings. If, in this association, the child be- 
comes familiar with indelicate, vulgar, and lascivious manners and con- 
versation, an impression is made upon the mind and heart, which lasts 
for years — perhaps for. life. Could we, in all cases, trace effects to their 
real causes, I doubt not but many young men and women, of respectable 
parentage and bright prospects, who have made shipwreck of all their 
earthly hopes, have been led to the fatal step by the seeds of corruption 
which, in the days of childhood and youth, were sown in their hearts by 
the indelicate and lascivious manners and conversation of their fathers' 

From an Address of Chancellor Harper, prepared for and read before 
the Society for the Advancement of Learning, of South Carolina. 
" I have said the tendency of our institution is to elevate the female 
character, as well as that of the other sex, for similar reasons. 

" And, permit me to say, that this elevation of the female character 
is no less important and essential to us, than the moral and intellectual 
cultivation of the other sex. It would, indeed, be intolerable, if, when 
one class of society is necessarily degraded in this respect, no compensa- 
tion were made by the superior elevation and purity of the other. Not 


only essential purity of conduct, but the utmost purity of manners. 
And, I will add, though it may incur the formidable charge of affectation 
or prudery, a greater severity of decorum than is required elsewhere, is 
necessary among us. Always should be strenuously resisted the at- 
tempts, which have sometimes been made, to introduce among us the 
freedom of foreign European, and, especially, of continental manners. 
Let us say: we will not have the manners of South Carolina 


Before night, the train arrived at Charleston, where I remained 
several days. 

Charleston, more than any town at the North, has the charac- 
ter of an old town, where careful government and the influence 
of social organization has been long in operation. It is much 
more metropolitan and convenient than any other Southern 
town; and yet, it seems to have adopted the requirements of 
modern luxury with an ill grace, and to be yielding to the de- 
mands of commerce and the increasing mobility of civilized men 
slowly and reluctantly. 

I saw as much close packing, filth, and squalor, in certain 
blocks, inhabited by laboring whites, in Charleston, as I have 
witnessed in any Northern town of its size ; and greater evi- 
dences of brutality and ruffianly character, than I have ever 
happened to see, among an equal population of this class, before. 

The frequent drumming which is heard, the State military 
school, the cannon in position on the parade-ground, the citadel, 
the guard-house, with its martial ceremonies, the frequent parades 
of militia (the ranks mainly filled by foreign-born citizens), and, 
especially, the numerous armed-police, which is under military 
discipline, might lead one to imagine that the town was in a 
state of siege or revolution. 



Savannah, which is but half a day's sail from Charleston, has, 
on the other hand, a curiously rural and modest aspect, for a 
place of its population and commerce. A very large proportion 
of the buildings stand detached from each other, and are sur- 
rounded by gardens, or courts, shaded by trees, or occupied by 
shrubbery. There are a great number of small public squares, 
and some of the streets are double, with rows of trees in the 

Charleston and Savannah are so easily accessible from the 
North, and are, in consequence, so much visited, and so much 
written about, that there is no occasion for me to particularly 
describe them, or their vicinity. Both towns are chiefly interest- 
ing from that in them which is indescribable, and which strangers 
cannot be expected to fully appreciate. 


I described a negro-funeral that I witnessed in Eichmond, Va. 
In Charleston, I saw one of a very different character. Those 
in attendance were mainly women, and they all proceeded on 
foot to the grave, following the corpse, carried in a hearse. The 
exercises were simple and decorous, after the form used in the 
Presbyterian church, and were conducted by a well-dressed 
and dignified elderly negro. The women were generally 
dressed in white, and wore bonnets, which were temporarily 
covered with a kind of hood, made of dark cambric. There 
was no show whatever of feeling, emotion, or excitement. The 
grave was filled by the negroes, before the crowd, which was 
quite large, dispersed. Besides myself, only one white man, 


probably a policeman, was in attendance. The burying-ground 
was a rough "vacant lot" in the midst of the town. The only 
monuments were a few wooden posts, and one small marble 

While riding, aimlessly, in the suburbs of Savannah, on re- 
turning from a visit to the beautiful rural cemetery of the wealthy 
whites, which Willis has, with his usual facility and grace, a little 
over-pictured, I came upon a square field, in the midst of an open 
pine-wood, partially inclosed with a dilapidated wooden paling. 
It proved to be a grave-yard for the negroes of the town. Dis- 
mounting, and fastening my horse to a gate-post, I walked in, 
and found much, in the monuments, to interest me. Some of 
these were mere billets of wood, others were of brick and mar- 
ble, and some were pieces of plank, cut in the ordinary form of 
tomb-stones. Many family-lots were inclosed with railings, and 
a few flowers or evergreen shrubs had sometimes been planted 
on the graves ; but these were generally broken down and with- 
ered, and the ground was overgrown with weeds and briars. 1 
spent some time in examining the inscriptions, the greater num- 
ber of which were evidently painted by self-taught negroes, and 
were curiously illustrative both of their condition and character. 
I transcribed a few of them, as literally as possible, as fol- 



OP HENRY. Gleve, ho 

Dide January 19 1849 

Age 44." 



In men of Charles 

who died NOY 

20. The 1846 

aged 62 years Blessed are the 

dead who dieth 

in the Lord 

Even so said 

the SPerit. For 

the Rest From 


pL'he remainder rotted off.] 





1814 DIED 


> > 

In Memr 

y, of, 



-t . Born 


29 and 

died oc 

tober 29 1852 

[The following on marble.] 

To record the worth fidelity and virtue of Reynolda Watts, (who 
died on the 2d day of May 1829 at the age of 24 years, in giving birth 
to her 3d child). 

Reared from infancy by an affectionate mistress and trained by her in 
the paths of virtue, She was strictly moral in her deportment, faithful 
and devoted in her duty and heart and soul a 

[Sand drifted over the remainder.] 


There were a few others, of similar character to the above, 
erected by whites to the memory of favorite servants. The fol- 
lowing was on a large brick tomb : 

" This tablet is erected to record the demise of Eev. HENRY 
CUNNINGHAM, Founder and subsequent pastor of the 2d African 
Church for 39 years, who yielded his spirit to its master the 29 of 
March 1842, aged 83 years." 

[Followed by an inscription to the memory of Mrs. Cun- 

" This vault is erected by the 2d African Church, as a token of 

The following is upon a large stone table. The reader will 
observe its date ; but I must add that, while in North Carolina, 
I heard of two recent occasions, in which public religious ser- 
vices had been interrupted, and the preachers — very estimable 
colored men — publicly whipped. 

" Sacred to the memory of Andrew Brian pastor of 1st colored Bap- 
tist church in Savannah. God was Pleased to lay his honour near his 
heart and impress the worth and weight of souls upon his mind that he 
was constrained to Preach the Gospel to dieng world, particularly to the 
sable sons of africa. though he labored under many disadvantage yet 
thought in the school of Christ, he was able to bring out new and old 
out of the treasury And he has done more good among the poor slaves 
than all the learned Doctors in America. He was im prisoned for the 
Gospel without any ceremony was severely whipped. But while under 
the lash he told his prosecutor he rejoiced not only to be whipped but he 
was willing for to suffer death for the cause of CHRIST. 

" He continued preaching the Gospel until Oct. 6 1812. He was 
supposed to be 96 years of age, his remains were interd with peculiar 
respect an address was delivered by the Rev. Mr Johnston Dr. Kolluck 
Thomas Williams & Henry Cunningham He was an honour to human 
nature an ornament to religion and a friend to mankind. 'His memory 
is still precious in the (hearts) of the living. 

" Afflicted long he bore the rod 
With calm submission to his maker God, 


His mind was tranquil and serene 
No terrors in his looks was seen 
A Saviouiis smile dispelled the gloom 
And smoothed the passage to the tomb. 

" I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth ! Tea saith the Spirit 
that they may rest from the labours. 

" This stone is erected by the First Colored Church as a token of love 
for their most faithful pastor. A. D. 1821." 


Plantation, February — . 

I left town yesterday morning, on horseback, with a letter in 
my pocket to Mr. X., a rice-planter, under whose roof I am now 
writing. The weather was fine, and, indeed, since I left Vir- 
ginia, the weather, for out-of-door purposes, has been as fine as 
can be imagined. The exercise of walking or of riding, warms 
one, at any time between sunrise and sunset, sufficiently to 
allow an overcoat to be dispensed with, while the air is yet brisk 
and stimulating. The public-houses are overcrowded with 
Northerners, who congratulate themselves on having escaped 
from the severe cold, of which they hear from home. 

All, however, who know the country, out of the large towns, 

say that they have suffered more from cold here, than ever at 

the North ; because, except at a few first class hotels, and in the 

better sort of mansions and plantation residences, any provision 

for keeping houses warm is so entirely neglected. It is, indeed, 

too cool to sit quietly, even at midday, out of sunshine, and at 

night it is often frosty. As a general rule, with such exceptions 

as I have indicated, it will be full two hours after one has asked 

for a fire in his room, before the servants can be got to make it. 



The idea of closing a door or window to exclude cold air, seems 
really never to have reached any of the negroes. From the 
time I left Eichmond, until I arrived at Charleston, I never hut 
once knew a servant to close a door on leaving a room, unless 
he was requested at the moment to do so. 

The public houses of the smaller towns, and the country 
houses generally, are so loosely built, and so rarely have un- 
broken glass windows, that to sit by a fire, and to avoid remain- 
ing in a draught at the same time, is never to be expected. 

As the number of Northerners, and especially of invalids, who 
come hither in winter, is every year increasing, more comfortable 
accommodations along the line of travel must soon be provided ; 
if not by native, then by Northern enterprise. Some of the 
hotels in Florida, indeed, are already, I understand, under the 
management of Northerners ; and this winter cooks and waiters 
have been procured for them from the North. I observe, also, 
that one of them advertises that meats and vegetables are 
received by every steamer from New York. 

As soon as comfortable quarters, and means of conveyance 
are extensively provided, at not immoderately great expense, 
there must be a great migration here every winter. The 
climate and the scenery, as well as the society of the more 
wealthy planters' families, are attractive, not to invalids alone, 
but even more to men and women who are able to enjoy invigor- 
ating recreations. Nowhere in the world could a man, with a 
sound body and a quiet conscience, live more pleasantly, at 
least, as a guest, it seems to me, than here where I am. I was 
awakened this morning by a servant making a fire for me to 
dress by. Opening the window, I found a clear, brisk air, but 
without frost — the mercury standing at 35° F. There was not a 


sign of winter, except that a few cypress trees, hung with seed, 
attached to pretty pendulous tassels, were leafless. A grove 
which surrounded the house was all in dark verdure ; there were 
green oranges on trees nearer the window ; the buds were swell- 
ing on a jessamine-vine, and a number of camelia-japonicas were 
in full bloom ; one of them, at least seven feet high, and a large, 
compact shrub, must have had several hundred blossoms on it. 
Sparrows were chirping, doves cooing, and a mocking-bird 
whistling loudly. I walked to the stable, and saw the clean and 
neatly-dressed negroes grooming thorough-bred horses. They 
pawed the ground, and tossed their heads, and drew deep inspira- 
tions, and danced as they were led out, in exuberance of animal 
spirits, and I felt as they did. We drove ten miles to church, in 
the forenoon, with the carriage-top thrown back, and with our 
overcoats laid aside ; nevertheless, when we returned, and came 
into the house, we found a crackling wood fire, in the old- 
fashioned fire-place, as comfortable as it was cheerful. Two 
lads, the sons of my host, had returned the night before 
from a "marooning party," with a boat-load of venison, 
wild fowl and fish, and at dinner this evening there were 
delicacies which are not to be had in perfection, it is said, 
anywhere else than on a rice-plantation. The woods and 
waters around us abound, not only with game, but with most 
interesting subjects of observation to the naturalist and the 
artist. Everything encourages cheerfulness, and invites to 
healthful life. 

Now to think how people are baking in their oven-houses at 
home, or waddling out in the deep snow or mud, or across the 
frozen ruts, wrapped up to a Falstaffian rotundity in flannels and 

rs, one can but wonder that those who have means stay there, 


any more than these stay here in summer ; and that my host 
would no more think of doing than the wild-goose. 

But I must tell how I got here, and what I saw by the way. 

A narrow belt of cleared land — " vacant lots" — only separa- 
ted the town from the pine-forest — that great broad forest 
which extends uninterruptedly, and merely dotted with a fevt 
small corn and cotton-fields, from Delaware to Louisiana. 

Having some doubt about the road, I asked a direction of a 
man on horseback, who overtook and Mas passing me. In 
reply, he said it was a very straight road, and we should go in 
company, for a mile or two. He inquired if I was a stranger ; 
and, when he heard that I was from the North, and now first 
visiting the South, he remarked that there was " no better place 
for me to go to than that for. which I was bound. Mr. X. was a 
very fine man — rich, got a splendid plantation, lived well, had 
plenty of company always, and there were a number of other 
show plantations near his. He reckoned I would visit some of 

I asked what he called " show plantations." " Plantations 
belonging to rich people," he said, " where they had everything 
fixed up nice. There were several places that had that name ; 
their owners always went out and lived on them part of the year, 
and then they kept a kind of open house, and were always ready 
to receive company. He reckoned I might go and stay a month 

round on them kind of places on river, and it would not 

cost me a cent. They always had a great many Northerners 
going to see them, those gentlemen had. Almost every Northern- 
er, that came here, was invited right out, to visit some of them, 
and, in summer, a good many of them went to the North them- 


During the forenoon, my road continued broad and straight, 
i,nd I was told that it was the chief outlet and thoroughfare of 
a very extensive agricultural district. There was very little land 
in cultivation within sight of the road, however; not a mile 
of it fenced, in twenty, and the only houses were log-cabins. 
The soil varied from a coarse, clean, yellow sand, to a dark, 
brown, sandy loam. There were indications that most of the 
land had, at some time, been under cultivation — had been worn 
out, and deserted. 

Long teams of mules, driven by negroes, toiled slowly towards 
the town, with loads of rice, or cotton. A stage-coach, with 
six horses to hasten it through the heavy road, covered me, as 
it passed, with dust ; and, once or twice, I met a stylish car- 
riage (not the old Virginia "family chariot, with its six well-con- 
ditioned grays," but its descendant in fashion), with fashionably- 
clad gentlemen and ladies, and primly-liveried negro-servants ; 
but much the greatest traffic of the road was done by small one- 
horse carts, driven by white men, or women. 


These carts, all but their wheels, which come from the North, 
look as if they were made by their owners, in the woods, with 
no better tools than axes and jack-knives. Very little iron is 
used in their construction ; the different parts being held together 
by wooden pins, and lashings of hide. The harness is made 
chiefly of ropes and undressed hide ; but there is always a high- 
peaked riding-saddle, in which the driver prefers to sit, rather 
than on his cart. Once, I met a woman riding in this way, with 
a load of children in the cart behind her. From the axle-tree, 
often hung a gourd, or an iron kettle. One man carried a rifle 


on his pommel. Sometimes, these carts would contain a single 
bale of cotton, more commonly, an assorted cargo of maize, 
sweet potatoes, poultry, game, hides, and peltry, with, always, 
some bundles of corn-leaves, to be fed to the horse. Women 
and children were often passengers, or traveled on foot, in com- 
pany with the carts, which were usually furnished with a low tilt. 
Many of them, I found, had been two or three days on the road, 
bringing down a little crop to market; whole families coming 
with it, to get reclothed with the proceeds. 

The men with the carts were generally slight, with high cheek- 
bones and sunken eyes, and were of less than the usual stature 
of the Anglo-Saxon race. They were dressed in long-skirted 
homespun coats, wore slouched hats, and heavy boots, outside 
their trowsers. As they met me, they usually bowed, and often 
offered a remark upon the weather, or the roads, in a bold, but 
not uncourteous manner — showing themselves to be, at least, in 
one respect, better off than the majority of European peasants, 
whose educated servility of character rarely fails to manifest 
itself, when they meet a well-dressed stranger. 

The household markets of most of the Southern towns seem 
to be mainly supplied by the poor country people, who, driving 
in in this style, bring all sorts of produce to exchange for such 
small stores and articles of apparel as they must needs obtain 
from the shops. Sometimes, owing to the great extent of the 
back country from which the supplies are gathered, they are 
offered in great abundance and variety ; at other times, from the 
want of regular market-men, there will be a scarcity, and prices 
will be very high. 

A stranger cannot but express surprise and amusement at the 
appearance and manners of these country traffickers in the mar- 



ket-place. The "wild Irish" hardly differ more from the Eng- 
lish gentry, than these rustics from the better class of planters 
and towns-people, with whom the traveler more commonly 
comes in contact. Their language, even, is almost incompre- 
hensible, and seems exceedingly droll, to a Northern man. I 
have found it quite impossible to report it. 

I shall not soon forget the figure of a little old white woman, 
wearing a man's hat, smoking a pipe, driving a little black bull 
with reins ; sitting, herself, bolt upright, upon the axle-tree oi 
a little truck, on which she was returning from market. I was 
riding with a gentleman of the town at the time, and, as she 
bowed to him with an expression of ineffable self-satisfaction, I 
asked if he knew her. He had known her for twenty years, he 
said, and until lately she had always come into town about once 


a week, on foot, bringing fowls, eggs, potatoes, or herbs, for 
sale, in a basket. The bull she had probably picked up astray, 
when a calf, and reared and broken it herself ; and the cart and 
harness she had made herself; but he did not tbink anybody 
in the land felt richer than she did now, or prouder of her 


In the afternoon, I left the main road, and, towards night, 

reached a much more cultivated district. The forest of pines 
still extended uninterruptedly on one side of the way, but on 
the other was a continued succession of very large fields, of rich 
dark soil — evidently reclaimed swamp-land — which had been cul- 
tivated the previous year, in Sea Island cotton, or maize. Be- 
yond them, a flat surface of still lower land, with a silver thread 
of water curling through it, extended, Holland-like, to the hori- 
zon. Usually at as great a distance as a quarter of a mile 
from the road, and from a half mile to a mile apart, were the 
residences of the planters — large white houses, with groves of 
evergreen trees about them ; and between these and the road 
were little villages of slave-cabins. 

My directions not having been sufficiently explicit, I rode in, 
by a private lane, to one of these. It consisted of some thirty 
neatly-whitewashed cottages, with a broad avenue, planted with 
Pride-of-China trees between them. 

The cottages were framed buildings, boarded on the outside, 
with shingle roofs and brick chimneys ; they stood fifty feet 
apart, with gardens and pig-yards, enclosed by palings, between 
them. At one, which was evidently the " sick house," or 
hospital, there were several negroes, of both sexes, wrapped in 
blankets, and reclining on the door steps or on the ground, 
basking in the sunshine. Some of them looked ill, but all were 


chatting and laughing as I rode up to make an inquiry. I 
learned that it was not the plantation I was intending to visit, 
and received a direction, as usual, so indistinct and incorre^ 
that it led me wrong. 

At another plantation which I soon afterwards reached, i 
found the " settlement " arranged in the same way, the cabins 
only being of a slightly different form. In tbe middle of one 
row was a well-house, and opposite it, on the other row, was a 
mill-house, with stones, at which the negroes grind their corn. 
It is a kind of pestle and mortar ; and I was informed afterwards 
that the negroes prefer to take their allowance of corn and crack 
it for themselves, rather than to receive meal, because they 
think the mill-ground meal does not make as sweet bread. 

At the head of the settlement, in a garden looking down the 
street, was an overseer's house, and here the road divided, run- 
ning each way at right angles ; on one side to barns and a 
landing on the river, on the other toward the mansion of the 
proprietor. A negro boy opened the gate of the latter, and I 

On either side, at fifty feet distant, were rows of old live oak 
trees, their branches and twigs slightly hung with a delicate 
fringe of gray moss, and their dark, shining, green foliage, meet- 
ing and intermingling naturally but densely overhead. The 
sunlight streamed through and played aslant the lustrous leaves, 
and fluttering, pendulous moss ; the arch was low and broad ; 
the trunks were huge and gnarled, and there was a heavy groin- 
ing of strong, rough, knotty branches. I stopped my horse and 
held my breath ; for I have hardly in all my life seen anything 
so impressively grand and beautiful. I thought of old Kit 

North's rhapsody on trees ; and it was no rhapsody — it was all 


here and real : " Light, shade, shelter, coolness, freshness, music, 
dew, and dreams dropping through their umbrageous twilight — ! 
dropping direct, soft, sweet, soothing, and restorative from 

Alas ! no angels ; only little black babies, toddling about with 
an older child or two to watch them, occupied the aisle. At the 
upper end was the owner's mansion, with a circular court-yard 
around it, and an irregular plantation of great trees ; one of the 
oaks, as I afterwards learned, seven feet in diameter of trunk, 
and Covering with its branches a circle of one hundred and 
twenty feet in diameter. As I approached it, a smart servant 
came out to take my horse. I obtained from him a direction 
to the residence of the gentleman I was searching for, and rode 
away, glad that I had stumbled into so charming a place. 

After riding a few miles further I reached my destination. 


Mr. X. has two plantations on the river, besides a large tract 
of poor pine forest land, extending some miles back upon the 
upland, and reaching above the malarious region. In the upper 
part of this pine land is a house, occupied by his overseer during 
the malarious season, when it is dangerous for any but negroes 
to remain during the night in the vicinity of the swamps or rice- 
fields. Even those few who have been born, in the region, and 
have grown up subject to the malaria, are generally weakly and 
short-lived. The negroes do not enjoy as good health on rice 
plantations as elsewhere; and the greater difficulty with which 
their lives are preserved, through infancy especially, shows that 
the subtle poison of the miasma is not innocuous to them ; but 
Mr. X. boasts a steady increase of his negro stock of five per 


cent, per annum, which is better than is averaged on the planta- 
tions of the interior. 

As to the degree of danger to others, " I would as soon stand 
fifty feet from the best Kentucky rifleman and be shot at by 
the hour, as to spend a night on my plantation in summer," 
a Charleston gentleman said to me. And the following two 
instances of the deadly work it sometimes does were mentioned 
to me by another : A party of six ladies and gentlemen went 
out of town to spend a day at the mansion of a rice-planter, on 
an island. By an accident to their boat, their return before night 
was prevented, and they went back and shut themselves within 
the house, had fires made, around which they sat all night, and 
took every other precaution to guard against the miasma. Never- 
theless, four of them died from its effects, within a week ; and 
the other two suffered severely, Two brothers owned a plantation 
on which they had spent the winter ; one of them, as summer 
approached, was careful to go to another residence every night ; 
the other delayed to do so until it was too late. One morning 
he was found to be ill ; a physician could not be procured until 
late in the afternoon, by which time his recovery was hopeless. 
The sick man besought his brother not to hazard his own life 
by remaining with him ; and he was obliged, before the sun set, 
to take the last farewell, and leave him with the servants, in 
whose care, in the course of the night, he died. 

The plantation which contains Mr. X.'s winter residence, has 
but a small extent of rice land, the greater part of it being 
reclaimed upland swamp soil, suitable for the culture of Sea 
Island cotton, which, at the present market, might be grown 
upon it with profit. But, as his force of slaves has ordinarily 
been more profitably engaged in the rice-fields, all this has been 


for many years " turned out," and is now overgrown with pines. 
The other plantation contains over five hundred acres of rice- 
land, fitted for irrigation; the remainder is unusually fertile, 
reclaimed upland swamp, and some hundred acres of it are culti- 
vated for maize and Sea Island cotton. 

There is a " negro settlement" on each ; but both plantations, 
although a mile or two apart, are worked together as one, under 
one overseer — the hands being drafted from one to another as 
their labor is required. Somewhat over seven hundred acres are 
at the present time under the plow in the two plantations : 
the whole number of negroes is two hundred, and they are 
reckoned to be equal to about one hundred prime hands — an 
unusual strength for that number of all classes. The overseer 
lives, in winter, near the settlement of the larger plantation, 
Mr. X. near that of the smaller. 4 

It is an old family estate, inherited by Mr. X.'s wife, who, 
with her children, were born and brought up upon it in close 
intimacy with the negroes, a large proportion of whom were 
also included in her inheritance, or have been since born upon 
the estate. Mr. X. himself is a New England farmer's son, and 
has been a successful merchant and manufacturer. He is also a 
religious man, without the dementifying bigotry or self-important 
humility, so frequently implied by that appellation to a New 
Englander, but generous, composed and cheerful in disposition, 
as well as conscientious. 

The patriarchal institution should be seen here under its most 
favorable aspects ; not only from the ties of long family associa- 
tion, common traditions, common memories, and, if ever, com- 
mon interests, between the slaves and their rulers, but, also, 
from the practical talent for organization and administration, 


gainad among the rugged fields, the complicated looms, and the 
exact and comprehensive counting-houses of New England, 
which directs the labor. 

The house-servants are more intelligent, understand and per- 
form their duties better, and are more appropriately dressed, 
than any I have seen before. The labor required of them is 
light, and they are treated with much more consideration for 
their health and comfort than is usually given to that of free 
domestics. They live in brick cabins, adjoining the house and 
stables, and one of these, into which I have looked, is neatly 
and comfortably furnished. Several of the house-servants, as is 
usual, are mulattoes, and good-looking. The mulattoes are gene- 
rally preferred for in-door occupations. Slaves brought up to 
house-work dread to be employed at field-labor ; and those accus- 
tomed to the comparatively unconstrained life of the negro-set- 
tlement, detest the close control and careful movements required 
of the house-servants. It is a punishment for a lazy field-hand, 
to employ him in menial duties at the house, as it is to 
set a sneaking sailor to do the work of a cabin-servant ; and it 
is equally a punishment to a neglectful house-servant, to banish 
him to the field-gangs. All the household economy is, of course, 
carried on in a style appropriate to a wealthy gentleman's 
residence — not more so, nor less so, that I observe, than in an 
establishment of similar grade at the North. »J 

It is a custom with Mr. X., when on the estate, to look each 
day at all the work going on, inspect the buildings, boats, em- 
bankments and sluice-ways, and examine the sick. Yesterday 
I accompanied him in one of these daily rounds. 

After a ride of several miles through the woods, in the rear of 
the plantations, we came to his largest negro-settlement. There 


was a street, or common, two hundred feet wide, on which the 
cabins of the negroes fronted. Each cabin was a framed build- 
ing, the walls boarded and whitewashed on the outside, lathed 
and plastered within, the roof shingled; forty-two feet long, 
twenty-one feet wide, divided into two family tenements, each 
twenty-one by twenty-one ; each tenement divided into three 
rooms — one, the common household apartment, twenty-one by 
ten ; each of the others (bed-rooms), ten by ten. There was a 
brick fire-place in the middle of the long side of each living 
room, the chimneys rising in one, in the middle of the roof. 
Besides these rooms, each tenement had a cock-loft, entered by 
steps from the household room. Each tenement is occupied, on 
an average, by five persons. There were in them closets, with 
locks and keys, and a varying quantity of rude furniture. Each 
cabin stood two hundred feet from the next, and the street in 
front of them being two hundred feet wide, they were just that 
distance apart each way. The people were nearly all absent at 
work, and had locked their outer doors, taking the keys with 
them. Each cabin has a front and back door, and each room a 
window, closed by a wooden shutter, swinging outward, on 
hinges. Between each tenement and the next house, is a small 
piece of ground, inclosed with palings, in which are coops of 
fowl with chickens, hovels for nests, and for sows with pig. 
There were a great many fowls in the street. The negroes' 
swine are allowed to run in the woods, each owner having his 
own distinguished by a peculiar mark. In the rear of the yards 
were gardens — a half-acre to each family. Internally the cabins 
appeared dirty and disordered, which was rather a pleasant indi- 
cation that their home-life was not much interfered with, though 
I found certain police regulations were enforced. 



The cabin nearest the overseer's house was used as a nursery. 
Having driven up to this, Mr. X. inquired first of an old nurse 

how the children were ; whether there had been any births since 
his last visit; spoke to two convalescent young mothers, that 
were lounging on the floor of the portico, with the children, and 
then asked if there were any sick people. 

" Nobody, oney dat boy, Sam, sar." 

"What Sam is that?" 

"Dat little Sam, sar; Tom's Sue's Sam, sar." 

"What's the matter with him?" 

"Don' 'spec dere's noting much de matter wid him now, 



sar. He came in Sa'dy, complainin' he had de stomach-ache, 
an' I gin him some ile, sar ; 'spec he mus' be well, dis time, but 
he din go out dis mornin'." 

" Well, I'll see to him." 

Mr. X. went to Tom's Sue's cabin, looked at the boy, and, 
concluding that he was well, though he lay abed, and pretended 
to cry with pain, ordered him to go out to work. Then, meet- 
ing the overseer, who was just riding away, on some business off 
the plantation, he remained some time in conversation with him, 
while I occupied myself in making a sketch of the nursery and 
the street of the settlement in my note-book. On the verandah 
and the steps of the nursery, there were twenty-seven children, 
most of them infants, that had been left there by their mothers, 
while they were working their tasks in the fields. They probably 
make a visit to them once or twice during the day, to nurse 
them, and receive them to take to their cabins, or where they 
like, when they have finished their tasks — generally in the mid- 
dle of the afternoon* The older children were fed with porridge, 
by the general nurse. A number of girls, eight or ten years old, 
were occupied in holding and tending the youngest infants. 
Those a little older — the crawlers — were in the pen, and those 
big enough to toddle were playing on the steps, or before the 
house. Some of these, with two or three bigger ones, were sing- 
ing and dancing about a fire that they had made on the ground. 
They were not at all disturbed or interrupted in their amuse- 
ment by the presence of their owner and myself. At twelve 
years of age, the children are first put to regular field-work ; 
until then no labor is required of them, except, perhaps, occa- 
sionally, they are charged with some light kind of duty, such as 
frightening birds from corn. When first sent to the field, one- 


quarter of an able-bodied band's day's work is ordinarily allotted 
to tbem, as tbeir task. 

But very few of tbe babies were in arms ; suck as were not, 
generally lay on the floor, rolling about, or sat still, sucking their 
thumbs. The nurse was a kind-looking old negro woman, with, 
no doubt, philoprogenitiveness well developed ; but she paid 
very little attention to them, only sometimes chicling the older 
ones for laughing or singing too loud. I watched for half an 
hour, and in all that time not a baby of them began to cry ; nor 
have I ever heard one, at two or three other plantation-nurseries 
which I have visited.- I remember, in Amsterdam, to have seen 
two or three similar collections of children, voluntarily deposited 
by their mothers, who went out from home to work. These 
seemed to be looked out for by two or three poor women, who 
probably received a small fee for their trouble, from the parent 
thus relieved. Not being able to converse in Dutch, I could get 
no particular information about it ; but I especially noticed, in 
each case, that there was no crying or fretting. On the con- 
trary, they appeared to be peculiarly well-disposed and jolly, 
as if they were already on the straight road to the right place, 
and were fully satisfied with the vehicles they had got to drive 
through the world. They had, in short, thus early learned that 
it did not do any good to cry — for the nurse couldn't, if she 
would, feed, or cuddle, or play with one every time she was 
wanted to. I make a note of it, as indicating how young the 
little twig is bent, how early the formation of habits commences, 
and that, even in babyhood, the "product of happiness is to be 
found, not so much in increasing your numerator, as in lessen- 
ing your denominator." 

From the settlement, we drove to the "mill" — not a flouring 


mill, though I believe there is a run of stones in it — but a mon- 
ster barn, with more extensive and better machinery for thresh- 
ing and storing rice, driven by a steam-engine, than I have ever 
seen used for grain on any farm in Europe or America before. 
Adjoining the mill-house were shops and sheds, in which black- 
smiths, carpenters, and other mechanics — all slaves, belonging to 
Mr. X. — were at work. He called my attention to the excel- 
lence of their workmanship, and said that they exercised as 
much ingenuity and skill as the ordinary mechanics that he was 
used to employ in New England. He pointed out to me some 
carpenter's work, a part of which had been -executed by a New 
England mechanic, and a part by one of his own hands, which 
indicated that the latter was much the better workman. 

I was gratified by this, for I had been so often told, in Vir- 
ginia, by gentlemen, anxious to convince me that the negro was 
incapable of being educated or improved to a condition in which 
it would be safe to trust him with himself — that no negro- 
mechanic could ever be taught, or induced to work carefully or 
nicely — that I had begun to believe it might be so. 

We were attended through the mill-house by a respectable- 
looking, orderly, and gentlemanly-mannered mulatto, who was 
called, by his master, " the watchman." His duties, however, 
as they were described to me, were those of a steward, or 
intendant. He carried, by a strap at his waist, a very large 
number of keys, and had charge of all the stores of provisions, 
tools, and materials of the plantations, as well as of all their 
produce, before it was shipped to market. He weighed and 
measured out all the rations of the slaves and the cattle; super- 
intended the mechanics, and himself made and repaired, as was 
necessary, all the machinery, including the steam-engine. 


In all these departments, his authority was superior to that 
of the overseer. The overseer received his private allowance of 
family provisions from him, as did also the head-servant at the 
mansion, who was his brother. His responsibility was much 
greater than that of the overseer ; and Mr. X. said, he would 
trust him with much more than he would any overseer he had 
ever known. 

Anxious to learn how this trustworthiness and intelligence, 
so unusual in a slave, had been developed or ascertained, I 
inquired of his history, which was, briefly, as follows. 

Being the son of a favorite house-servant, he had been, as a 
child, associated with the white family, and received by chance 
something of the early education of the white children. When 
old enough, he had been employed, for some years, as a waiter ; 
but, at his own request, was eventually allowed to learn the 
blacksmith's trade, in the plantation-shop. Showing ingenuity 
and talent, he was afterwards employed to make and repair the 
plantation cotton-gins. Finally, his owner took him to a steam- 
engine builder, and paid $500 to have him instructed as a 
machinist. After he had become a skillful workman, he obtained 
employment, as an engineer ; and for some years continued in 
this occupation, and was allowed to spend his wages for himself. 
Finding, however, that he was acquiring dissipated habits, and 
wasting all his earnings, Mr. X. eventually brought him, much 
against his inclinations, back to the plantations. Being allowed 
peculiar privileges, and given duties wholly flattering to his self- 
respect, he soon became contented ; and, of course, was able to 
be extremely valuable to his owner. 

I have seen another slave-engineer. The gentleman who 
employed him told me that he was a man of talent, and of great 


worth of character. He had desired to make him free, but his 
owner, who was a member of the Board of Brokers, and of Dr. 
's Church, in New York, believed that Providence de- 
signed the negro race for slavery, and refused to sell him for 
that purpose. He thought it better that he (his owner) should 
continue to receive two hundred dollars a year for his services, 
while he continued able to work, and then he should feel 
responsible that he did not starve, or come upon the public for 
a support, in his old age. The man himself, having light and 
agreeable ' duties, well provided for, furnished with plenty of 
spending money in gratuities by his employer, patronized and 
flattered by the white people, honored and looked up to by those 
of his own color, was rather indifferent in the matter ; or even, 
perhaps, preferred to remain a slave, to being transported for 
life, to Africa. 

The watchman was a fine-looking fellow : as we were return- 
ing from church, on Sunday, he had passed us, well-dressed and 
well-mounted, and as he raised his hat, to salute us, there was 
nothing in his manner or appearance, except his color, to dis- 
tinguish him from a gentleman of good-breeding and fortune 4 

When Ave were leaving the house, to go to church, on Sunday, 
after all the white family had entered their carriages, or mounted 
their horses, the head house-servant also mounted a horbe — as 
he did so, slipping a coin into the hands of the boy who had 
been holding him. Afterwards, we passed a family of negroes, 
in a light wagon — the oldest among them driving the horse. On 
my inquiring if the slaves were allowed to take horses to drive 
to church, I was informed that, in each of these three cases, the 
horses belonged to the negroes who were driving or riding them. 
The old man was infirm, and Mr. X. had given him a horse, to 


enable him to move about. He was probably employed to 
look after the cattle at pasture, or at something in which it was 
necessary, for his usefulness, that he should have a horse : I say 
this, because I afterwards found, in similar cases on other planta- 
tions, that it was so. 

But the watchman and the house-servant had bought their 
horses with money. The watchman was believed to own three 
horses ; and, to account for his wealth, Mr. X.'s son told me that 
his father considered him a very valuable servant, and frequently 
encouraged him in his good behavior, with handsome gratuities. 
He receives, probably, considerably higher wages, in fact (in the 
form of presents), than the white overseer. He knew his father 
gave him two hundred dollars at once, a short time ago. The 
watchman has a private house, and, no doubt, lives in consider- 
able luxury. 

Will it be said, " therefore, Slavery is neither necessarily 
degrading nor inhumane ?" On the other hand, so far as it is 
not, there is no apology for it. It may be that this fine fellow, 
if he had been born a freeman, would be no better employed 
than- he is here ; but, in that case, where is the advantage f 
Certainly not in the economy of the arrangement. And if he 
ras self-dependent, and if, especially, he had to provide for 
the present and future of those he loved, and was able to do 
so, would he not necessarily live a happier, stronger, better, and 
more respectable man 1 

But, to arrive at this conclusion, we have had to suppose such 
a state of society for the free laborer as to make it a matter of 
certainty that by the development of industry, talent, and provi- 
dence, he is able to provide for himself and for those whose 
happiness is linked with his own. 


As a general rule, this is the case in all free-labor countries. 
Nowhere, I suspect, are the exceptions to it so frequent as are 
the exceptions to humane and generous treatment of slaves by 
their masters. Nevertheless, it is the first duty of those who 
think Slavery Avrong to remove to the utmost all such excuse 
for it as is to be found in the occasional hardships and frequent 
debasement and ignorance of the laboring class in free com- 

After passing through tool-rooms, corn-rooms, mule-stables, 
store-rooms, and a large garden, in which vegetables to be dis- 
tributed among the negroes, as well as for the family, are grown, 
we walked to the rice-land. It is divided by embankments into 
fields of about twenty acres each, but varying somewhat in size, 
according to the course of the river. The arrangements are 
such that each field may be flooded independently of the rest, 
and they are subdivided by open ditches into rectangular plats 
of a quarter acre each. We first proceeded to where twenty or 
thirty women and girls were engaged in raking together, in 
heaps and winrows, the stubble and rubbish left on the field after 
the last crop, and burning it. The main object of this operation 
is to kill all the seeds of weeds, or of rice, on the ground. Or- 
dinarily it is done by tasks — a certain number of the small 
divisions of the field being given to each hand to burn in a day ; 
but owing to a more than usual amount of rain having fallen 
lately, and some other causes, making the work harder in some 
places than others, the women were now working by the day, 
under the direction of a " driver," a negro man, who walked 
about among them, taking care that they left nothing unburned. 
Mr. X. inspected the ground tbey had gone over, to see whether 
the driver had done his duty. It bad been sufficiently well 


burned, but, not more tban quarter as much ground had been 
gone over, he said, as was usually burned in task-work, — and he 
thought they had been very lazy, and reprimanded them for it. 
The driver made some little apology, but the women offered no 
reply, keeping steadily, and it seemed sullenly, on at their work. 
In the next field, twenty men, or boys, for none of them look- 
ed as if they were full-grown, were plowing, each with a single 
mule, and a light, New- York-made plow. The soil was very 
friable, the plowing easy, and the mules proceeded at a smart 
pace ; the furrows were straight, regular, and well turned. Their 
task was nominally an acre and a quarter a day ; somewhat less 
actually, as the measure includes the space occupied by the 
ditches, which are two to three feet wide, running around each 
quarter of an acre. The plowing gang was superintended by a 
driver who was provided with a watch ; and while we were looking 
at them he called out that it was twelve o'clock. The mules 
were immediately taken from the plows, and the plow-boys mount- 
ing them, leapt the ditches, and cantered off to the stables, to 
feed them. One or two were ordered to take their plows to the 
blacksmith, for repairs. 


The plowmen got their dinner at this time: those not 
using horses do not usually dine till they have finished their 
tasks ; but this, I believe, is optional with them. They com- 
mence work at sunrise, and at about eight o'clock have breakfast 
brought to them ' in the field, each hand having left a bucket 
with the cook for that purpose. All who are working in 
connection leave their work together, and gather in a social 
company about a fire, where they generally spend about half an 


hour, at breakfast time. The provisions furnished them consist 
mainly of meal, rice and vegetables, with salt and molasses, and 
occasionally bacon, fish, and coffee. The allowance is a peck of 
meal, or an equivalent quantity of rice per week, to each work- 
ing hand, old or young, besides small stores. Mr. X. says that 
he has lately given a less amount of meat than is now usual on 
plantations, having observed that the general health of the 
negroes is not as good as formerly, when no meat at all was 
customarily given them. The general impression among plant- 
ers is, that the negroes work much better for being supplied with 
three or four pounds of bacon a week. 

Leaving the rice-land, we went next to some of the upland 
fields, where we found several other gangs of negroes at work ; 
one entirely of men engaged in ditching ; another of women, and 
another of boys and girls, "listing" an old corn-field with hoes. 
All of them were working by tasks, and were overlooked by 
negro drivers. They all labored with greater rapidity and 
cheerfulness than any slaves I have before seen ; and the women 
struck their hoes as if they were strong, and well able to engage 
in muscular labor. The expression of their faces was generally 
repulsive, and their tout ensemble anything but agreeable to the 
eye. The dress of most of them was uncouth and cumbrous, 
dirty and ragged ; reefed up, as I have once before described, at 
the hips, so as to show their heavy legs, wrapped round with a 
piece of old blanket, in lieu of leggings or stockings. Most of 
them worked with bare arms, but wore strong shoes on their 
feet, and handkerchiefs on their heads ; some of them were 
smoking, and each gang had a fire burning on the ground, near 
where they were at work, to light their pipes and warm their 
breakfast by. Mr. X. said this was always their custom, even 


in summer. To each gang a boy or girl was also attached, 
whose business it was to bring water for them to drink, and to 
go for anything required by the driver. The drivers would 
frequently call back a hand to go over again some piece of his 
or her task that had not been worked to his satisfaction, and 
were constantly calling to one or another, with a harsh and 
peremptory voice, to strike harder or hoe deeper, and otherwise 
taking care that the work was well done. Mr. X. asked if Little 
Sam (" Tom's Sue's Sam") worked yet with the " three-quarter " 
hands, and learning that he did, ordered him to be put with the 
full hands, observing that though rather short, he was strong and 
stout, and, being twenty years old, well able to do a man's 

The field-hands are all divided into four classes, accord- 
ing to their physical capacities. The children beginning as 
"quarter-hands," advancing to "half-hands," and then to 
" three-quarter hands ;" and, finally, when mature, and able- 
bodied, healthy and strong, to "full hands." As they de- 
cline in strength, from age, sickness, or other cause, they 
retrograde in the scale, and proportionately less labor is re- 
quired of them. Many, of naturally weak frame, never are 
put among the full hands. Finally, the aged are left out at 
the annual classification, and no more regular field-work is 
required of them, although they are generally provided with 
some light, sedentary occupation. I saw one old woman 
picking " tailings" of rice out of a heap of chaff, an occupa- 
tion at which she was literally not earning her salt. Mr. X. 
told me she was a native African, having been brought when 
a girl from the Guinea coast. She spoke almost unintelli- 
gibly ; but after some other conversation, in which I had not 


been able to understand a word she said, he jokingly pro- 
posed to send her back to Africa. She expressed her pre- 
ference to remain where she was, very emphatically. "Why?" 
She did not answer readily, but being pressed, threw up her 
palsied hands, and said furiously, " I lubs 'on mas'r, oh, I 
lubs 'ou. I don't want go 'way from 'ou." 

The field hands, are nearly always worked in gangs, the 
strength of a gang varying according to the work that en- 
gages it ; usually it numbers twenty or more, and is directed 
by a driver. As on most large plantations, whether of rice 
or cotton, in Eastern Georgia and South Carolina, nearly 
all ordinary and regular work is performed by tasks : that 
is to say, each hand has his labor for the day marked out 
before him, and can take his own time to do it in. For 
instance, in making drains in light, clean meadow land, each 
man or woman of the full hands is required to dig one thousand 
cubic feet ; in swamp-land that is being prepared for rice 
culture, where there are not many stumps, the task for a 
ditcher is five hundred feet ; while in a very strong cypress 
swamp, only two hundred feet is required ; in hoeing rice, a 
certain number of rows, equal to one-half or two-thirds of 

Ian acre, according to the condition of the land ; in sowing 
rice (strewing in drills), two acres ; in reaping rice (if it 
v stands well), three-quarters of an acre ; or, sometimes a gang 
will be required to reap, tie in sheaves, and carry to the 
stack-yard the produce of a certain area, commonly equal to 
one fourth the number of acres that there are hands working 
together. Hoeing cotton, corn, or potatoes ; one half to one 
acre. Threshing ; five to six hundred sheaves. In plowing 
rice-land (light, clean, mellow soil) with a yoke of oxen, one 


acre a day, including the ground lost in and near the drains — 
the oxen being changed at noon. A cooper, also, for instance, 
is required to make barrels at the rate of eighteen a week. 
Drawing staves; 500 a day. Hoop poles; 120. Squaring 
timber; 100 ft. Laying worm-fence; 50 panels per hand. 
Post and rail do., posts set 2^ to 3 ft. deep, 9 ft. apart, nine 
or ten panels per hand. In getting fuel from the woods, 
(pine, to be cut and split,) one cord is the task for a day. A 
In "mauling rails," the taskman selecting the trees (pine) 1 
that he judges will split easiest, one hundred a day, ends not / 

These are the tasks for first class able-bodied men, they 
are lessened by one quarter for three quarter hands, and pro- 
portionately for the lighter classes. In allotting the tasks, 
the drivers are expected to put the weaker hands, where (if 
there is any choice in the appearance of the ground, as where 
certain rows in hoeing corn would be less weedy than others,) 
they will be favored. 

These tasks certainly would not be considered excessively 
hard, by a Northern laborer ; and, in point of fact, the more 
industrious and active hands finish them often by two o'clock. 
I saw one or two leaving the field soon after one o'clock, 
several about two ; and between three and four, I met a dozen 
women and several men coming home to their cabins, having 
finished their day's work. 

Under this " Organization of Labor," most of the slaves work 
rapidly and well. In nearly all ordinary work, custom has set- 
tled the extent of the task, and it is difficult to increase it. The 
driver who marks it out, has to remain on the ground until 
it is finished, and has no interest in over-measuring it; and 


if it should be systematically increased very much, there is 
danger of a general stampede to the " swamp" — a clanger the 
slave can always hold before his master's cupidity. In fact, 
it is looked upon in this region as a proscriptive right of the 
negroes to have this incitement to diligence offered them ; 
and the man who denied it, or who attempted to lessen it, 
would, it is said, suffer in his reputation, as well as experience 
much annoyance from the obstinate " rascality" of his negroes. 
Notwithstanding this, I have heard a man assert, boastingly, 
that he made his negroes habitually perform double the cus- 
tomary tasks. Thus we get a glimpse again of the black 
side. If he is allowed the power to do this, what may not fs 
man do ? 


It is the driver's duty to make the tasked hands do their 
work well. If, in their haste to finish it, they neglect to do 
it properly, he " sets them back," so that carelessness will 
hinder more than it will hasten the completion of their tasks. 

In the selection of drivers, regard seems to be had to size 
and strength — at least, nearly all the drivers I have seen 
are tall and strong men — but a great deal of judgment, re- 
quiring greater capacity of mind than the ordinary slave is 
often supposed to be possessed of, is certainly needed in them. 
A good driver is very valuable and usually holds office for 
life. His authority is not limited to the direction of labor 
in the field, but extends to the general deportment of the 
negroes. He is made to do the duties of policeman, and 
even of police magistrate. It is his duty, for instance, on 
Mr. X.'s estate, to keep order in the settlement ; and, if two 


persons, men or women, are fighting, it is his duty to imme- 
diately separate them, and then to " whip them both." 

Before any field of work is entered upon by a gang, the 
driver who is to superintend them has to measure and stake 
off the tasks. To do this at all accurately, in irregular- 
shaped fields, must require considerable powers of calculation. 
A driver, with a boy to set the stakes, I was told, would 
accurately lay out forty acres a day, in half-acre tasks. The 
only instrument used is a five-foot measuring rod. When 
the gang comes to the field, he points out to each person his 
or her duty for the day, and then walks about among them, 
looking out that each proceeds properly. If, after a hard 
day's labor, he sees that the gang has been overtasked, owing 
to a miscalculation of the difficulty of the work, he may ex- 
cuse the completion of the tasks ; but he is not allowed to 
extend them. In the case of uncompleted tasks, the body 
of the gang begin new tasks the next day, and only a suf- 
ficient number are detailed from it to complete, during the 
day, the unfinished tasks of the day before. The relation 
of the driver to the working hands seems to be similar to 
that of the boatswain to the seamen in the navy, or of the 
sergeant to the privates in the army. 

Having generally had long experience on the plantation, 
the advice of the drivers is commonly taken in nearly all the 
administration, and frequently they are, de facto, the mana- 
gers. Orders on important points of the plantation economy, 
I have heard given by the proprietor directly to them, with- 
out the overseer's being consulted or informed of them; and 
it is often left with them to decide when and how long to 
flow the rice-grounds — the proprietor and overseer deferring 


to their more experienced judgment. Where the drivers are dis- 
creet, experienced and trusty, the overseer is frequently employed 
merely as a matter of form, to comply with the laws requir- 
ing the superintendence or presence of a white man among 
every body of slaves ; and his duty is rather to inspect and 
report, than to govern. Mr. X. considers his overseer an 
uncommonly efficient and faithful one, but he would not em- 
ploy him, even during the summer, when he is absent for 
several months, if the law did not require it. He has some- 
times left his plantation in care of one of the drivers for a 
considerable length of time, after having discharged an over- 
seer ; and he thinks it has then been quite as well conducted 
as ever. His overseer consults the drivers on all important 
points, and is governed by their advice. 


Mr. X. said, that though overseers sometimes punished the 
negroes severely, and otherwise ill-treated them, it is their 
more common fault to indulge them foolishly in their dispo- 
sition to idleness, or in other ways to curry favor with them, 
so they may not inform the proprietor of their own mis- 
conduct or neglect. He has his overseer bound to certain 
rules, by written contract; and it is stipulated that he can 
discharge him at any moment, without remuneration for 
his loss of time and inconvenience, if he should at any 
time be dissatisfied with him. One of the rules is, that 
he shall never punish a negro with his own hands, and 
that corporeal punishment, when necessary, shall be inflicted 
by the drivers. The advantage of this is, that it secures time 
for deliberation, and prevents punishment being made in sud- 


den passion. His drivers are not allowed to carry their 
whips with them in the field; so that if the overseer wishes 
a hand punished, it is necessary to call a driver ; and the 
driver has then to go to his cabin, which is, perhaps, a mile 
or two distant, to get his whip, before it can be applied. 

I asked how often the necessity of punishment occurred? 

" Sometimes, perhaps, not once for two or three weeks ; 
then it will seem as if the devil had got into them all and 
there is a good deal of it." 


As the negroes finish the labor, required of them by Mr. X., 
at three or four o'clock in the afternoon, they can employ the 
remainder of the day in laboring for themselves, if they choose. 
Each family has a half-acre of land allotted to it, for a garden ; 
besides which, there is a large vegetable garden, cultivated by. a 
gardener for the plantation, from which they are supplied, to a 
greater or less extent. They are at liberty to sell whatever they 
choose from the products of their own garden, and to make what 
they can by keeping swine and fowls. Mr. X.'s family have no 
other supply of poultry and eggs than what is obtained by 
purchase from his own negroes ; they frequently, also, purchase 
game from them. The only restriction upon their traffic is a 
"liquor law." They are not allowed to buy or sell ardent 
spirits. This prohibition, like liquor laws elsewhere, unfortu- 
nately, cannot be enforced; and, of late years, grog shops, at 
which stolen goods are bought from the slaves, and poisonous 
liquors — chiefly the worst whisky, much watered and made 
stupefying by an infusion of tobacco — are clandestinely sold to 
them, have become an established evil, and the planters find 


themselves almost powerless to cope with it. They have, 
here, lately organized an association for this purpose, and have 
brought several offenders to trial ; but, as it is a penitentiary 
offense, the culprit spares no pains or expense to avoid convic- 
tion — and it is almost impossible, in a community of which so 
large a proportion is poor and degraded, to have a jury sufficient- 
ly honest and intelligent to permit the law to be executed. 

A remarkable illustration of this evil has lately occurred. A 
planter, discovering that a considerable quantity of cotton had 
been stolen from him, informed the patrol of the neighboring 
planters of it. A strategem was made use of, to detect the 
thief, and, what was of much more importance — there being no 
question but that this was a slave — to discover for whom the 
thief worked. A lot of cotton was prepared, by mixing hair 
with it, and put in a tempting place. A negro was seen to take 
it, and was followed by scouts, to a grog-shop, several miles 
distant, where he sold it — its real value being nearly ten dollars — 
for ten cents, taking his pay in liquor. The man was arrested, 
and, the theft being made to appear, by the hair, before a justice, 
obtained bail in $2,000, to answer at the higher Court. Some 
of the best legal counsel of the State has been engaged, to 
obtain, if possible, his conviction. 

This difficulty in the management of slaves is a great and very 
rapidly increasing one. Everywhere that I have been, I have 
found the planters provoked and angry about it. A swarm of 
Jews, within the last ten years, has settled in nearly every 
Southern town, many of them men of no character, opening 
cheap clothing and trinket shops ; ruining, or driving out of 
business, many of the old retailers, and engaging in an unlawful 
trade with the simple negroes, which is found very profitable. 


From the Charleston Standard, Nov. 23d, 1854. 
" This abominable practice of trading with, slaves, is not only taking 
our produce from us, but injuring our slave property. It is true the 
owner of slaves may lock, watch, and whip, as much as he pleases — the 
negroes will steal and trade, as long as white persons hold out to them 
temptations to steal and bring to them. Three-fourths of the persons 
who are guilty, you can get no fine from ; and, if they have some prop- 
erty, all they have to do is to confess a judgment to a friend, go to jail, 
and swear out. It is no uncommon thing for a man to be convicted 
of offenses against the State, and against the persons and property of 
individuals, and pay the fines, costs, and damages, by swearing out of 
jail, and then go and commit similar offenses. The State, or the party 
injured, has the cost of all these prosecutions and suits to pay, besides 
the trouble of attending Court : the guilty is convicted, the injured 
prosecutor punished." 

The law which prevents the reception of the evidence of a 
negro in courts, here strikes back, with a most annoying force, 
upon the dominant power itself. In the mischief thus arising, 
we see a striking illustration of the clanger which stands before 
the South, whenever its prosperity shall invite extensive immigra- 
tion, and lead what would otherwise be a healthy competition to 
flow through its channels of industry. 

This injury to slave property, from grog-shops, furnishes the 
grand argument for the Maine Law at the South. 

From an Address to the people of Georgia, by a Committee of the State 
Temperance Society, prior to the election of 1855. 
" We propose to turn the 2,200 foreign grog-shop keepers, in Georgia, 
out of office, and ask them to help us. They (the Know-Nothings) re- 
ply, ' "We have no time for that now — we are trying to turn foreigners 
out of office ;' and when we call upon the Democratic party for aid, 
they excuse themselves, upon the ground that they have work enough 
to do in keeping these foreigners in office." 

From the Fenfield (Ga.) Temperance Banner, Sept. 29th, 1855. 


" We take the following from the Savannah Journal and Courier, 


and would ask every candid reader if the evils referred to ought not to 
be corrected. How shall it be done ? 

" ' By reference to the recent homicide of a negro, in another column, 
some facts will be seen suggestive of a state of things, in this part of our 
population, which should not exist, and which cannot endure without 
danger, both to them and to us. The collision, which terminated thus 
fatally, occurred at an hour past midnight — at a time when none but 
the evil-disposed are stirring, unless driven by necessity ; and yet, at that 
hour, those negroes and others, as many as chose, were passing about the 
country, with ample opportunity to commit any act which might happen 
to enter their heads. In fact, they did engage, in the public highway, 
in a broil terminating in homicide. It is not difficult to imagine that 
their evil passions might have taken a very different direction, with as 
little danger of meeting control or obstacle. 

" ' But it is shown, too, that to the impunity thus given them by the 
darkness of midnight, was added the incitement to crime drawn from the 
abuse of liquor. They had just left one of those resorts where the negro 
is supplied with the most villainously-poisonous compounds, fit only to 
excite him to deeds of blood and violence. The part that this had in 
the slaughter of Saturday night, we are enabled only to imagine ; but 
experience would teach us that its share was by no means small. Indeed, 
we have the declaration of the slayer, that the blow, by which he was 
exasperated so as to return it by the fatal stab, was inflicted by a bottle 
of brandy ! In this fact, we fear, is a clue to the whole history of the 

" Here, evidently, are considerations deserving the grave notice of, 
not only those who own negroes, but of all others who live in a society 
where they are held." 


Mr. X. remarks that his arrangements allow his servants no 
excuse for dealing with these fellows. He has a rule to pur- 
chase everything they desire to sell, and to give them a high 
price for it, himself. Eggs constitute a- circulating medium on 
the plantation. Their par value is considered to be twelve for a 


dime, at which they may always be exchanged for cash, or left 
on deposit, without interest, at his kitchen. 

Whatever he takes of them that he cannot use in his own 
family, or has not occasion to give to others of his servants, is 
sent to town, to be resold. The negroes do not commonly take 
money for the articles he has of them, but the value of them is 
put to their credit, and a regular account kept with them. He 
has a store, usually well supplied with articles that they most 
want, which are purchased in large quantities, and sold to them 
at wholesale prices ; thus giving them a great advantage in deal- 
ing Avith him rather than with the grog-shops. His slaves are 
sometimes his creditors to large amounts ; at the present time 
he says he owes them about five hundred dollars. A woman has 
charge of the store, and when there is anything called for that 
she cannot supply, it is usually ordered by the next convey- 
ance, of his factors in town. 


The ascertained practicability of thus dealing with slaves, 
together with the obvious advantages of the method of working 
them by tasks, which I have described, seem to me to indicate 
that it is not so impracticable as is generally supposed, if only 
it was desired by those having the power, to rapidly extinguish 
Slavery, and while doing so, to educate the negro for taking care 
of himself, in freedom. Let, for instance, any slave be provided 
with all things he will demand, as far as practicable, and charge 
him for them at certain prices — honest, market prices for his 
necessities, higher prices for harmless luxuries, and excessive, but 
not absolutely prohibitory, prices for everything likely to do him 
harm. Credit him, at a fixed price, for every day's work he 


does, and for all above a certain easily accomplished task in a 
day, at an increased price, so that his reward -will be in an in- 
creasing ratio to his perseverance. Let the prices of provisions 
be so proportioned to the price of task-work, that it will be 
about as easy as it is now for him to obtain a bare subsistence. 
When he has no food and shelter due him, let him be confined 
in solitude, or otherwise punished, until he asks for opportunity 
to earn exemption from punishment, by labor. 

When he desires to marry, and can persuade any woman to 
marry him, let the two be dealt with as in partnership. Thus, 
a young man or young woman will be attractive, somewhat in 
proportion to his or her reputation for industry and providence. 
Thus, industry and providence will become fashionable. Oblige 
them to purchase food for their children, and let them have the 
benefit of their children's labor, and they will be careful to teach 
their children to avoid waste, and to honor labor. Let those 
who have not gained credit while hale and young, sufficient to 
support themselves in comfort when prevented by age or in- 
firmity from further labor, be supported by a tax upon all the 
negroes of the plantation, or of a community. Improvidence, 
and pretense of inability to labor, will then be disgraceful. 

When any man has a balance to his credit equal to his value 
as a slave, let that constitute him a free man. It will be 
optional with him and his employer, whether he shall continue 
longer in the relation of servant. If desirable for both that he 
should, it is probable that he will ; for unless he is honest, pru- 
dent, industrious and discreet, he will not have acquired the 
means of purchasing his freedom. 

If he is so, he will remain where he is, unless he is more 
wanted elsewhere ; a fact that will be established by his being 


called away by higher wages, or the prospect of greater ease and 
comfort elsewhere. If he is so drawn off, it is better for all par- 
ties concerned that he should go. Better for his old master ; for 
he would not refuse him sufficient wages to induce him to stay, 
unless he could get the work, he wanted him to do, done cheaper 
than he would justly do it. Poor wages would certainly, in the 
long run, buy but poor work ; fair wages, fair work. 

Of course there Avill be exceptional cases, but they will always 
operate as cautions for the future, not only to the parties suffer- 
ing, but to all who observe them. And be sure they will not 
be suffered, among ignorant people, to be lost. This is the bene- 
ficent function of gossip, with which wise and broad-working 
minds have nothing to do, such not being benefited by the itera- 
tion of the lessons of life. 

Married persons, of course, can only become free together. 
In the appraisement of their value, let that of their young 
children be included, so that they cannot be parted from them ; 
but with regard to children old enough to earn something more 
than their living, let it be optional what they do for them. 

Such a system would simply combine the commendable 
elements of the emancipation law of Cuba,* and those of the 
reformatory punishment system, now in successful operation in 
some of the British penal colonies, with a few practical modifica- 
tions. Further modifications would, doubtless, be needed, which 

* In Cuba every slave has the privilege of emancipating himself, by paying 
a price which does not depend upon the selfish exactions of the masters ; but it 
is either a fixed price, or else is fixed, in each case, by disinterested appraisers. 
The consequence is, that emancipations are constantly going on, and the free 
people of color are becoming enlightened, cultivated, and wealthy. In no part 
of the United States do they occupy the high social position which they enjoy 
! in Cuba. 


any man who lias had much practical experience in dealing with 
slaves might readily suggest. Much might he learned from the 
experience of the system pursued in the penal colonies, some 
account of which may he seen in the report of the Pri- 
soners' Aid Society of New York, for 1854, or in a previous 
little work of my own. I have here only desired to suggest, 
apropos to my friend's experience, the practicability of providing 
the negroes an education in essential social morality, while they 
are drawing towards personal freedom; a desideratum with 
those who do not consider Slavery a purely and eternally 
desirable thing for both slave and slave-master, which the 
present system, I think, is calculated, as far as possible, in every 
direction to oppose. My reasons for thus thinking, I may 
hereafter give, in some detail. 

Education in theology and letters could be easily combined 
with such a plan as I have hinted at ; or, if a State should wish 
to encourage the improvement of its negro constituent — as, in the 
progress of enlightenment and Christianity, may be hoped to 
eventually occur — a simple provision of the law, making a cer- 
tain standard of proficiency the condition of political freedom, 
would probably create a natural demand for education, which 
commerce, under its inexorable higher-laws, would be obliged to 


I do not think, after all I have heard to favor it, that there is 
any good reason to consider the negro, naturally and essentially, 
the moral inferior of the white ; or, that if he is so, it is in those 
elements of character which should forever prevent us from 
trusting him with equal social munities with ourselves. 


So far as I have observed, slaves show themselves worthy of 
trust most, where their masters are most considerate and liberal 
towards them. Far more so, for instance, on the small farms of 
North Carolina than on the plantations of Virginia and South 
Carolina. Mr. X.'s slaves are permitted to purchase fire-arms 
and ammunition, and to keep them in their cabins ; and his wife 
and daughters reside with him, among them, the doors of the 
house never locked, or windows closed, perfectly defenseless, and 
miles distant from any other white family. 

Another evidence that negroes, even in slavery, when trusted, 
may prove wonderfully reliable, I will subjoin, in a letter written 
by Mr. Alexander Smets, of Savannah, to a friend in New York, 
in 1853. It is hardly necessary to say, that the "servants" 
spoken of were negroes, and the "suspicious characters," provi- 
dentially removed, were whites. The letter was not written for 
publication : 

" The epidemic which spread destruction and desolation through our 
city, and many other places iu most of the Southern States, was, with 
the exception of that of 1820, the most deadly that was ever known here. 
Its appearance being sudden, the inhabitants were seized with a panic, 
which caused an immediate sauve qui pent seldom witnessed before. I 
left, or rather fled, for the sake of my daughters, to Sparta, Hancock 
county. They were dreadfully frightened. 

" Of a population of fifteen thousand, six thousand, who could not 
get away, remained, nearly all of whom were more or less seized with 
the prevailing disease. The negroes, with very few exceptions, escaped. 

"Amidst the desolation and gloom pervading the deserted streets, 
there was a feature that showed our slaves in a favorable light. There 
were entire blocks of houses, which were either entirely deserted, the 
owners in many instances having, iu their flight, forgotten to lock them 
up, or left in charge of the servants. A finer opportunity for plunder 
could not be desired by thieves ; and yet the city was remarkable, dur- 
ing the time, for order and quietness. There were scarcely any rob- 
beries committed, and as regards fires, so common in the winter, none ! 


Every householder, whose premises had escaped the fury of the late 
terrific storm, found them id the same condition he had left them. Had 
not the yellow fever scared away or killed those suspicious characters, 
whose existence is a problem, and who prowl about every city, I fear 
that our city might have been laid waste. Of the whole board of 
directors of five banks, three or four remained, and these at one time 
were sick. • Several of the clerks were left, each in the possession of a 
single one. For several weeks it was difficult to get anything to eat ; 
the bakers were either sick or dead. The markets closed, no country- 
man dared venture himself into the city with the usual supplies for the 
table, and the packets had discontinued their trips. I shall stop, other- 
wise I could fill a volume with the occurrences and incidents of the 
dismal period of the epidemic." 


While watching the negroes in the field, Mr. X. addressed a 
girl, who was vigorously plying a hoe near us. 

"Is that Lucy? Ah, Lucy, what's this I hear about you?" 

The girl simpered ; but did not answer nor discontinue her 

" What is this I hear about you and Sam, eh ?" 

The girl grinned ; and, still hoeing away with all her might, 
whispered " Yes, sir." 

" Sam came to see me this morning." 

" If master pleases." 

" Very well ; you may come up to the house Saturday night, 
and your mistress will have something for you." 

Mr. X. does not absolutely refuse to allow his negroes to 
" marry off the place," as most large slave-owners do, but he 
discourages intercourse, as much as possible, between his negroes 
and those of other plantations ; and they are usually satisfied 
to choose from among themselves. 

When a man and woman wish to live with each other, they 


are required to aslc leave of their master ; and, unless there are 
some very obvious objections, this is always granted : a cabin is 
allotted to them, and presents are made of dresses and house- 
keeping articles. A marriage ceremony, in the same form as 
that used by free people, is conducted by the negro preacher, 
and they are encouraged to make the occasion memorable and 
gratifying to all, by general festivity. The master and mistress, 
•when on the plantation, usually honor the wedding by their 
attendance ; and, if they are favorite servants, it is held in the 
house, and the ceremony performed by a white minister. 

A beautiful, dense, evergreen grove is used as the burial- 
ground of the negroes. The funerals are always at night, and 
are described as being very quaint and picturesque — all the 
negroes of the neighborhood marching in procession from the 
cabin of the deceased person to the grave, carrying light-wood 
torches, and singing hymns, in their sacl, wailing, chanting man- 
ner. At the head of each recent grave stands a wooden post. 


On most of the large rice plantations which I have seen in 
this vicinity, there is a small chapel, which the negroes call their 
prayer-house. The owner of one of these told me that, having 
furnished the prayer-house with seats having a back-rail, his 
negroes petitioned him to remove it, because it did not leave 
them room enough to pray. It was explained to me that it is 
their custom, in social worship, to work themselves up to a great 
pitch of excitement, in which they yell and cry aloud, and, 
finally, shriek and leap up, clapping their hands and dancing, 
as it is done at heathen festivals. The back-rail they found 
to seriously impede this exercise. 


Mr. X. told me that lie had endeavored, with but littl* 
success, to prevent this shouting and jumping of the negroes 
at their meetings on his plantation, from a conviction that 
there was not the slightest element of religious sentiment in it. 
He considered it to be engaged in more as an exciting amuse- 
ment than from any really religious impulse. In the town 
churches, except, perhaps, those managed and conducted almost 
exclusively by negroes, the slaves are said to commonly engage 
in religious exercises in a sober and decorous manner; yet, a 
member of a Presbyterian church in a Southern city told me, 
that he had seen the negroes, in his own house of worship, 
during " a season of revival," leap from their seats, throw their 
arms wildly in the air, shout vehemently and unintelligibly, cry, 
groan, rend their clothes, and fall into cataleptic trances. 


On almost every large plantation, and in every neighborhood 
of small ones, there is one man who has come to be considered 
the head or pastor of the local church. The office among the 
negroes, as among all other people, confers a certain importance 
and power. A part of the reverence attaching to the duties is 
given to the person ; vanity and self-confidence are cultivated, and 
a higher ambition aroused than can usually enter the mind of a 
slave. The self-respect of the preacher is also often increased 
by the consideration in which he is held by his master, as well 
as his fellows ; thus, the preachers generally have an air of 
superiority to other negroes ; they acquire a remarkable memory 
of words, phrases, and forms ; a curious sort of poetic talent is 
developed, and a habit is obtained of rhapsodizing and exciting 
furious emotions, to a great degree spurious and temporary, in 


themselves and others, through the imagination. I was intro 
duced, the other day, to a preacher, who was represented to be 
quite distinguished among them. I took his hand, respectfully, 
and said I was happy to meet him. He seemed to take this for 
a joke, and laughed heartily. He was a " driver," and my friend 

" He drives the negroes at the cotton all the week, and Sun- 
days he drives them at the Gospel — don't you, Ned?" 

He commenced to reply in some scriptural phrase, soberly ; 
but, before he could say three words, began to laugh again, and 
reeled off like a drunken man — entirely overcome with merri- 
ment. He recovered himself in a moment, and returned to us. 
" They say he preaches very powerfully, too." 
"Yes, Massa! 'kordin' to der grace — yah! yah!" 
And he staggered off again, with the peculiar hearty negr< 
guffaw. My friend's tone was, I suppose, slightly humorous, 
but I was grave, and really meant to treat him respectfully, 
wishing to draw him into conversation; but he had got the 
impression that it was intended to make fun of him, and, 
generously assuming a merry humor, I found it impossible to 
get a serious reply. 


A majority of the public houses of worship at the South 
are small, rude structures of logs, or rough boards, built by 
the united labor or contributions of the people of a large 
neighborhood or district of country, and are used as places 
of assembly for all public purposes. Few of them have 
any regular clergymen, but preachers of different denomina- 
tions go from one to another, sometimes in a defined rotation, 


or "circuit," so that they may be expected at each of their sta- 
tions at regular, intervals. A late report of the Southern Aid 
Society states that hardly one-fifth of the preachers are regularly 
educated for their business, and that " you would starve a host 
of them if you debarred them from seeking additional support 
for their families by worldly occupation." In one presbytery of 
the Presbyterian Church, which is, perhaps, the richest, and 
includes the most educated body of people of all the Southern 
Churches, there are twenty-one ministers whose wages are not 
over two hundred and fifty dollars each. The proportion of 
ministers, of all sorts, to people, is estimated at one to thirteen 
hundred. (In the Free States it is estimated at one to nine 
hundred.) The report of this Society also states, that " within 
the limits of the United States religious destitution lies compara- 
tively at the South and Southwest; and that from the first 
settlement of the country the North has preserved a decided 
religious superiority over the South, especially in three import- 
ant particulars : in ample supply of Christian institutions ; 
extensive supply of Christian truth ; and thorough Christian 
regimen, both in the Church and in the community." It is 
added that, " while the Southwestern States have always needed 
a stronger arm of the Christian ministry to raise them up toward 
a Christian equality with their Northern brethren, their supply 
in this respect has always been decidedly inferior." The reason 
of this is the same with that which explains the general igno- 
rance of the people of the South : The effect of Slavery in pre- 
venting social association of the whites, and in encouraging 
vagabond and improvident habits of life among the poor. 

The two largest denominations of Christians at the South are 
the Methodists and Baptists — the last having a numerical superi- 


ority. There are some subdivisions of each, and of the Baptists 
especially, the nature of which I do not understand. Two grand 
divisions of the Baptists are known as the Hard Shells and the 
Soft Shells. There is an intense rivalry and jealousy among 
these various sects and sub-sects, and the controversy between 
them is carried on with a bitterness and persistence exceeding 
anything which I have known at the North, and in a manner 
which curiously indicates how the terms Christianity, piety, etc., 
are misapplied to partisanship, and conditions of the imagination. 
A general want of deep reverence of character is evidenced in 
the frequent familiar and public use of expressions of rare rever- 
ence, and in high-colored descriptions of personal feelings and 
sentiments, which, if actual, can only be among a man's dearest, 
most interior, secret, stillest, and most uncommunicable expe- 
riences. Men talk in public places, in the churches, and in bar- 
rooms, in the stage-coach, and at the fireside, of their personal and 
peculiar relationship with the Deity, and of the mutations of their 
harmony with His Spirit, just as they do about their family and 
business matters. Of the familiar use of Scripture expressions 
by the negroes, I have already spoken. This is not confined to 
them, but is general among all the lower and middle classes. 
(When I speak of classes, I usually refer, as in this case, more 
especially to degree in education and information.) The follow- 
ing advertisement of a " reforming" dram-seller is an illustra- 


IN order to engage in a more ' honorable' business, I offer for sale, 
cheap for cash, my stock of 


etc., etc. If not sold privately, by the 20th day of May, I will sell the 
same at public auction. ' Shew me thy faith without thy works, and 
I will shew thee my faith by my works.' E. KEYSER." 


The religious service which I am ahout to describe, was held 
in a less than usually rude meeting-house, the boards by whicb 
it was inclosed being planed, the windows glazed, and the seats 
for the white people provided with backs. It stood in a small 
clearing of the woods, and there was no habitation within two 
miles of it. When I reached it with my friends, the services had 
already commenced. Fastened to trees, in a circle about the 
house, there were many saddled horses and mules, and a few 
attached to carts or wagons. There were two smouldering 
camp-fires, around which sat circles of negroes and white boys, 
roasting potatoes in the ashes. 

In the house were some fifty white people, generally 
dressed in homespun, and of the class called "crackers," 
though I was told that some of them owned a good many 
negroes, and were by no means so poor as their appear- 
ance indicated. About one-third of the house, at the end 
opposite the desk, was covered by a gallery or cock-loft, 
under and in which, distinctly separated from the whites, 
was a dense body of negroes ; the men on one side, the 
women on another. The whites were seated promiscuously 
in the body of the house. The negroes present outnum- 
bered the whites, but the exercises at this time seemed to 
have no reference to them ; there were many more waiting 
about the doors outside, and they were expecting to enjoy 
a meeting to themselves, after the whites had left the house. 
They were generally neatly dressed, more so than the ma- 
jority of the whites present, but in a distinctly plantation 
or slave style. A few of them wore somewhat expensive 
articles, evidently of their own selection and purchase, but I 
observed, with some surprise, that not one of the women had 


a bonnet upon her head, all wearing handkerchiefs, generally 
of gay patterns, and becomingly arranged. I inquired if this 
was entirely a matter of taste, and was told that it, no doubt, 
was generally so, though the masters would not probably allow 
them to wear bonnets, if tbey should be disposed to, and should 
purchase them themselves, as it would be thought presum- 
ing. In the towns, the colored women often, but not gene- 
rally, wear bonnets. 

During all the exercises, people of both classes were fre- 
quently going out and coming in; the women had brought 
their babies with them, and these made much disturbance. 
A negro girl would sometimes come forward to take a child 
out ; perhaps the child would prefer not to be taken out and 
Avould make loud and angry objections ; it would then be 
fed. Several were allowed to crawl about the floor, carry- 
ing handfuls of corn-bread and roast potatoes about with 
them ; one had a fancy to enter the pulpit ; which it succeed- 
ed in climbing into three times, and was as often taken away, 
in spite of loud and tearful expostulations, by its father. 
Dogs were not excluded ; and outside, the doors and win- 
dows all being open, there was much neighing and braying, 
unused as were the mules and horses to see so many of 
their kind assembled. 

The preliminary devotional exercises — a Scripture reading, 
singing, and painfully irreverential and meaningless harangues 
nominally addressed to the Deity, but really to the audience 
— being concluded, the sermon was commenced by reading a 
text, with which, however, it had, so far as I could discover, 
no further association. Without often being violent in his 
manner, the speaker nearly all the time cried aloud at the 


utmost stretch of his voice, as if calling to some one a long 
distance off; as his discourse was extemporaneous, however, 
he sometimes returned with curious effect to his natural con- 
versational tone; and as he was gifted with a strong imagi- 
nation, and possessed of a good deal of dramatic power, he kept, 
the attention of the people very well. There was no argu- 
ment upon any point that the congregation w T ere likely to 
have much difference of opinion upon, nor any special con- 
nection hetween one sentence and another ; yet there was a 
constant, sly, sectarian skirmishing, and a frequently recur- 
ring cannonade upon French infidelity and socialism, and several 
crushing charges upon Fourier, the Pope of Rome, Tom Paine, 
Voltaire, " Eoosu," and Jo Smith. The audience were frequently 
reminded that the preacher did not want their attention, for 
any purpose of his own; hut that he demanded a respectful 
hearing as "the Ambassador of Christ." He had the habit of 
frequently repeating a phrase, or of bringing forward the same 
idea in a slightly different form, a great many times. The 
following passage, of which I took notes, presents an example 
of this, followed by one of the best instances of his dramatic 
talent that occurred. He was leaning far over the desk, with 
his arm stretched forward, gesticulating violently, yelling at 
the highest key, and catching breath with an effort : 

"A — ah! why don't you come to Christ? ah! what's the 
reason? ah! Is it because he was of lowly birth? ah! Is 
that it ? Is it because he was born in a manger 1 ah ! Is it 
because he was of a humble origin ? ah ! Is it because he 
was lowly born ? a-ha ! Is it because, ah ! — is it because, ah ! — 
because he was called a Nazarene ? Is it because he was born in 
a stable 1 — or is it because — because he was of humble origin ? 


Or is it — is it because" — He drew back, and after a moment's 
silence put bis band to bis cbin, and began walking up and 
down tbe platform of tbe pulpit, soliloquizing. " It can't be 
— it can't be — ?" — then lifting bis eyes and gradually turn- 
ing towards the audience, while he continued to speak in a 
low, thoughtful tone: "perhaps you don't like the messenger 
— is that the reason? I'm the Ambassador of the great and 
glorious King; it's bis invitation, 'taint mine. You musn't 
mind me. I ain't no account. Suppose a ragged, insignifi- 
cant little boy should come running in here and tell you, 
' Mister, your bouse 's a-fire !' would you mind the ragged, 
insignificant little boy, and refuse to listen to him, because 
he didn't look respectable 1" 

At tbe end of the sermon he stepped down from the 
pulpit, and, crossing the bouse towards the negroes, said, 
quietly, as he walked, "I take great interest in the poor 
blacks ; and this evening I am going to hold a meeting speci- 
ally for you." With this, he turned back, and without reenter- 
ing the pulpit, but strolling up and down before it, read a 
hymn, at the conclusion of which, he laid his book down, 
and, speaking for a moment, with natural emphasis, said : 

" I don't want to create a tumultuous scene, now ; — 
that isn't my intention. I don't want to make an excite- 
ment, — that aint what I want, — but I feel that there's some 
here that I may never see again, ah! and, as I may never 
have another opportunity, I feel it my duty as an Ambassa- 
dor of Jesus Christ, ah! before I go " By this time he 

had returned to the high key and whining yell. Exactly what 
he felt it his duty to do, I did not understand ; but evi- 
dently to employ some more powerful agency of awakening, 


than arguments and appeals to the understanding ; and, be- 
fore I could conjecture, in the least, of what sort this was to 
be, while he was yet speaking calmly, deprecating excitement, 
my attention was attracted to several men, who had previously 
appeared sleepy and indifferent, but who now suddenly began 
to sigh, raise their heads, and shed tears — some standing up, 
so that they might be observed in doing this by the whole 
congregation — the tears running down their noses without 
any interruption. The speaker, presently, was crying aloud, 
with a mournful, distressed, beseeching shriek, as if he was 
himself suffering torture : " Oh, any of you fond parents, who 
know that any of your dear, sweet, little ones may be, oh! 
at any moment snatched right away from your bosom, and 
cast into hell fire, oh ! there to suffer torment forever and 
ever, and ever and ever — Oh! come out here and help us 
pray for them! Oh, any of you wives that has got an uncon- 
verted husband, that Avon't go along with you to eternal glory, 
but is set upon being separated from you, oh ! and taking 
up his bed in hell — Oh! I call upon you, if you love him, 
now to come out here and jine us in praying for him. Oh, 
if there's a husband here, whose wife is still in the bond of 
iniquity," etc., through a long category. 

It was immediately evident that a large part of the audiencs 
understood his wish to be the reverse of what he had declared, 
and considered themselves called upon to assist him ; and it was 
astonishing to see with what readiness the faces of those who, 
up to the moment he gave the signal, had appeared drowsy and 
stupid, were made to express distressing excitement, sighing, 
groaning, and weeping. Eising in their seats, and walking up 
to the pulpit, they grasped each other's hands agonizingly, and 


remained, some kneeling, others standing, with' their faces 
towards the remainder of the assembly. There was great con- 
fusion and tumult, and the poor children, evidently impressed by 
the terrified tone of the howling preacher, with the expectation 
of some immediately impending calamity, shrieked, and ran 
hither and thither, till negro girls came forward, laughing at the 
imposition, and carried them out. 

At length, when some twenty had gathered around the 
preacher, and it became evident that no more could be drawn 
out, he stopped a moment for breath, and then repeated a verso 
of a hymn, which being sung, he again commenced to cry aloud, 
calling now upon all the unconverted, who were loilling to be 
saved, to kneel. A few did so, and another verse was sung, 
followed by another more fervent exhortation. So it went on ; 
at each verse his entreaties, warnings, and threats, and the 
responsive groans, sobs, and ejaculations of his coterie grew 
louder and stronger. Those who refused to kneel, were ad- 
dressed as standing on the brink of the infernal pit, into which a 
diabolical divinity was momentarily on the point of satisfying 
the necessities of his character by hurling them off. 

All this time about a dozen of the audience remained stand- 
ing, many were kneeling, and the larger part had taken their 
seats — all having risen at the commencement of the singing. 
Those who continued standing were mainly wild-looking young 
fellows, who glanced with smiles at one another, as if they 
needed encouragement to brazen it out. A few young women 
were evidently fearfully excited, and perceptibly trembled, but 
for some reason dared not kneel, or compromise, by sitting. 
One of these, a good-looking and gayly-dressed girl, stood 
near, and directly before the preacher, her lips compressed, 


and her eyes fixed fiercely and defiantly upon him. He for 
some time concentrated his force upon her; but she was too 
strong for him, he could not bring her down. At length, 
shaking his finger toward her, with a terrible expression, as if 
he had the power, and did not lack the inclination to damn her 
for her resistance to his will, he said: "I tell you this is 
the last call/" She bit her lips, and turned paler, but still 
stood erect, and defiant of the immense magnetism concen- 
trated upon her, and he gave it up himself, quite exhausted 
with the effort. 

The last verse of the hymn was sung. A comparatively quiet 
and sober repetition of Scripture phrases, strung together hetero- 
geneously and without meaning, in the form of prayer, followed, 
a benediction was pronouced, and in five minutes all the people 
were out of the door, with no trace of the previous excitement 
left, but most of the men talking eagerly of the price of cotton, 
and negroes, and otber news. 

The negroes kept their place during all of the tumult; there 
may have been a sympathetic groan or exclamation uttered by 
one or two of them, but generally they expressed only the inter- 
est of curiosity in the proceedings, such as Europeans might at 
a performance of the dancing dervishes, an Indian pow-wow, or 
an exhibition of "psychological" or "spiritual" phenomena, 
making it very evident that the emotion of the performers was 
optionally engaged in, as an appropriate part of divine service. 
There was generally a self-satisfied smile upon their faces ; and 
I have no doubt they felt that they could do it with a good deal 
more energy and abandon, if they were called upon. I did not 
wish to detain my companion to witness how they succeeded, 
when their turn came ; and I can only judge from the fact, that 


those I saw the next morning were so hoarse that they could 
scarcely speak, that the religious exercises they most enjoy are 
rather hard upon the lungs, whatever their effect may be upon 
the soul. 



Although nineteen-twentieths of all the rice raised in the 
United States is grown within a district of narrow limits, on the 
sea-coast of the Carolinas and Georgia, the crop forms a not 
unimportant item among the total productions of the country.* 
The crop of 1849 was supposed to be more than two hundred 
and fifteen million pounds, and the amount exported was equal, 
in value, to one-third of all the wheat and flour, and to one-sixth 
of all the vegetable food, of every kind, sent abroad. The 
exportation of 1851 was exceeded in value, according to the 
Patent Office Eeport, only by that of cotton, flour, and tobacco. 

Rice is raised in limited quantity in all of the Southern 
States, and probably might be in some of the North. Rice 
has been grown on the Thames in England, and is exten- 
sively cultivated in Westphalia, Lombardy, and Hungary, in 
a climate not differing, materially, from that of Southern Ohio 
or Pennsylvania. Travelers have found a variety of rice ex- 
tensively cultivated among the Himalayan mountains, at an 

The number of Rice Plantations is as follows, viz. : 

S. Carolina — Plantations raising 20,000 lbs. and over, - 44G 

Georgia, " " » " 88 

N.Carolina, " " " " - 25 

Total, 559 


elevation but little below the line' of constant snow. It is 
true that a hot climate is necessary for a large production ; 
but these facts contradict the common assertion, that rice can 
only be grown under such circumstances of climate as must 
be fatal to any but negro labor.* 

In Louisiana and the Mississippi valley, where the rice 
culture is, at present, very limited, there are millions of 
acres of now unproductive wilderness, admirably adapted to 
its requirements, and here, " it is a well known fact," says 
a writer in De Bow's Review, " that the rice plantations, both as 
regards whites and blacks, are more healthy than the sugar and 
cotton.' 1 '' The only restriction, therefore, upon the production 
of rice to a thousand fold greater extent than at present, is 
the cost of labor in the Southern States. 

From the New Orleans Delta, FeVy 20, 1853. 

" It is shown in a petition to the legislature of Louisiana, asking for 
a grant of State land to the petitioners, as an encouragement to them 
to undertake extensive rice culture, in the State, that the cultivation of 
rice, in Louisiana, is not attended with the unusual sickness that it is in 
the Atlantic States. This is an important fact, and reference is made 
to the Parish of Plaquemines, where there is a rice-growing district, of 
some thirty or forty miles, on each side of the river, making forty thou- 
sand or more barrels of rough rice, yearly ; and where the health of 
the inhabitants, both white and black, is about the same that it is 
in other parts of the State, where no rice is grown. The reason assign- 
ed is, the Mississippi water, owing to its peculiar character, is not near 
so liable to stagnate or decompose, and produce miasms, as the fresh, 
clear waters of the Eastern rivers. It has been the impression of most 
of the residents of Plaquemines, that that Parish has always been, except 
when the cholera prevailed, one of the healthiest in the State." 

* The rice commonly reported to grow wild, abundantly, in Wisconsin, and 
lately reproduced from seed in Connecticut, is not, I believe, properly called 
rice, but is of the family of oats. 


From the same, May 28, 1854. 

" Another specimen of Creole rice may now be seen at the Reading 
Room of the Exchange, side by side with the " Gold Seed" we noticed 
a short time since. It came, from the Parish of Plaquemines, and is of 
the sort very generally cultivated there. J. Blodget Britton, Esq., the 
founder of the Louisiana Eice Mill Company, selected it as a fair sam- 
ple of what is now produced in that district. He informs us that it 
resembles the white husk upland variety of South Carolina, though hav- 
ing, where care is used in its culture, a larger kernel, but is not so 
highly esteemed in commerce as the " Gold Seed ; it is, however, greatly 
preferred by the Creoles, on account of its flavor. 

Mr. Britton has been traveling much through the Atlantic States, 
from Georgia to Massachusetts, in quest of information upon the subject 
of rice culture and milling, and recently has visited the principal rice 
districts of this State, collecting and imparting all the information in 
his power. He says there are few, very few persons in Louisiana who 
are at all aware of the great capability of our batture lands for the pro- 
duction of rice, and of a quality, too, he thinks, that will equal any in the 
world. All that is wanted is, good seed and proper culture. Some of the 
grain he has found is even larger than the large Ward rice of the George- 
town District, S. C, and some equally tough and hard, indeed, tougher 
and harder, he thinks, and possessing all the requisites for fine milling. 
But a fact, by no means the least important, he has ascertained. He is 
thoroughly satisfied, after hundreds of inquiries, that the cultivation of 
rice on the Mississippi bottoms does not cause unusual sickness, as is the 
case to the eastward. This he attributes to the purifying qualities of the 
sediment of the river water. Dr. Wilkinson, of the Parish of Plaque- 
mines, whom we regard as high authority, has also given his assurance of 

Eice continues to be cultivated extensively on the coast of 
Georgia and the Carolinas, notwithstanding the high price of 
labor which Slavery and the demand for cotton has occa- 
sioned, only because there are unusual facilities there for 
forming plantations, in which, while the soil is exceedingly 
rich and easily tilled, and the climate favorable, the ground 
may be covered at will with water, until nearly all other 


plants are killed, so as to save much of the labor which 
■would otherwise be necessary in the cultivation of the crop; 
and may as readily be drained, when the requirements of the 
rice itself make it desirable. 

Some of the economical advantages thus obtained, might cer- 
tainly be made available, under other circumstances, for other 
crops. Luxuriant crops of grain and leguminous plants are 
sometimes grown upon the rice fields, and I have little doubt 
that there are many swamps, bordering upon our Northern rivers, 
which might be converted into fields of irrigation, with great 
profit. On this account, I shall describe the rice plantation 
somewhat elaborately. 


A large part of all the country next the coast, fifty miles 
or more in width, in North and South Carolina and Georgia, 
is occupied by flat cypress swamps and reedy marshes. That 
which is not so is sandy, sterile, and overgrown with pines, 
and only of any value for agriculture where, at depressions 
of the surface, vegetable mould has been collected by the 
flow of rain water. The nearer we approach the sea, the 
more does water predominate, till at length land appears 
only in islands or capes ; this is the so-called Sea Island 
region. Below all, however, there stretches along the whole 
coast a low and narrow sand bar — a kind of defensive out- 
work of the land, seldom inhabited except by lost Indians 
and runaway negroes, who subsist by hunting and fishing. 
There are, upon it, several government relief stations and 
light-houses, far less frequent, alas ! than skeleton hulks of old 

ships, which, half buried — like victims of war — in the sand, 


give sad evidence of the fury of the sea, and of the firm- 
ness "with which its onsets are received. 

At distant intervals there are shallow breaches, through 
which the quiet tide twice a day steals in, swelling the neutral 
lagoons, and damming the outlet of the fresh water streams, till 
their current is destroyed or turned back, and their flood dis- 
persed far and wide over the debatable land of the cypress swamps. 

Then when heavy rains in the interior have swollen the rivers, 
their eddying currents deposit, all along the edges of the 
sandy islands and capes of the swamp, the rich freight they have 
brought from the calcareous or granitic mountains in which 
they rise, with the organic waste of the great forests through 
which they flow. With all is mingled the silicious wash of 
the nearest shore and the rich silt of the salt lagoons, aroused 
from their bottoms in extraordinary assaults of the ocean. 

This is the soil of the rice plantations, which are always 
formed in such parts of the tidal swamps, adjoining the main- 
land or the sandy islands, as are left nearly dry at the ebb 
of the water. The surface must be level, or with only 
slight inclinations towards the natural drains in which the 
retiring tide withdraws; and it must be at such a distance 
from the sea, that there is no taste of salt in the water by 
which it is flooded, at the rise of tide. 


In such a situation, the rice fields are first constructed as 
follows : Their outline being determined upon, the trees are cut 
upon it for a space of fifty feet in width : a ditch is then dug at 
the ebb of the water, the earth thrown out from which soon 
suffices to prevent the return of ordinary tides, and the laborers 


are thus permitted to work uninterruptedly. An embankment is 
then formed, upon the site of the first made ditch, sufficiently 
thick and high to resist the heaviest floods which can be antici- 
pated. It is usually five feet in hight, and fifteen in breadth at 
the base, and all stumps and roots are removed from the earth 
of which it is formed, as, in digging the first ditch, they have 
been from its base. The earth for it is obtained by digging a 
great ditch fifteen or twenty feet inside of it ; and if more is 
afterwards needed, it is brought from a distance, rather than 
lessen its security by loosening the ground near its base. 

While this embanking has been going on, the trees may have 
been felled over all the ground within, and, with the underbrush, 
drawn into piles or rows. At a dry time in the spring, fire is 
set to the windward side of these, and they are more or less 
successfully consumed. Often the logs remain, as do always the 
stumps, encumbering the rice field for many years. Usually, 
too, the larger trees are only girdled, and their charred or 
rotting trunks stand for years, rueful corpses of the old 

The cleared land is next divided into fields of convenient size, 
by embankments similar to, but not as large as, the main river 
embankment, the object of them being only to keep the water 
that is to be let into one field out of the next, which may not be 
prepared for it ; commonly they are seven or eight feet wide at 
base and three feet high, with ditches of proportionate size ad- 
joining them ; a margin of eight or ten feet being left between 
the ditches and the embankments. Each field must be provided 
with a separate trunk and gate, to let in or exclude the water of 
the river ; and if it is a back field, a canal, embanked on either 
side, is sometimes necessary to be made for this purpose. Such 


a canal is generally made wide enough to admit of the pas- 
sage of a scow for the transportation of the crop. 

These operations being concluded, the cultivation of the land 
is commenced ; but, owing to the withdrawal of shade, the decay 
of roots and recent vegetable deposit, and the drainage of the 
water with which the earth has hitherto been saturated, there 
continues for several years to be a gradual subsidence of the 
surface, making it necessary to provide more ditches to remove 
the water, after a flooding of the field, with sufficient rapidity 
and completeness. These ditches, which are, perhaps, but two 
feet wide and deep, are dug between the crops, from time to time, 
until all the fields are divided into rectangular beds of a half or 
a quarter-acre each. Now, when the gates are open, at the fall 
of tide, any water that is on the beds flows rapidly into these 
minor drains (or " quarter ditches "), from these into the outside 
ditches of each field, and from these through the field trunks into 
the canal, or the main embankment ditch, and from this through 
the main trunk into the river. The gates in the trunk are made 
with valves, that are closed by the rise of water in the river, so 
as not to again admit it. Another set of gates, provided with 
valves opening the other way, are shut down, and the former are 
drawn up, when it is wished to admit the water, and to prevent 
its outflow. 

The fields can each be flooded to any hight, and the water 
retained upon them to any length of time desired. The only 
exceptions to this sometimes occur on those plantations nearest 
the sea, and those furthest removed from it. On the lower 
plantations, the tide does not always fall low enough, for a few 
days at a time, to draw off the water completely ; and on the 
upper ones, it may not always rise high enough to sufficiently 


flood the fields. The planter must then wait for spring-tides, or 
for a wind from seaward, that shall " set up " the water in the 

"freshes" and "salts." 

In times of freshet of the river, too, it will be impossible to 
drain a greater or less number of the plantations upon it. These 
circumstances occurring at critical periods of the growth of the 
rice-plant, always have a great effect upon the crop, and are 
referred to in factors' and brokers' reports, and are often noticed 
in the commercial newspapers. 

There is another circumstance, however, connected with the 
character of the season for rain, that still more essentially con- 
cerns the interests of the rice-planters, especially those nearest 
the ocean. In a very dry season, the rivers being low, the 
ocean water, impregnated with salt, is carried further up than 
usual. Salt is poisonous to the rice-plant ; while, on the other 
hand, unless it is flooded from the river, no crop can be made. 
The longer the drought continues, the greater this difficulty 
becomes, and the higher up it extends. 

An expanse of old rice ground, a nearly perfect plain surface, 
with its waving, clean, bright verdure, stretching unbroken, 
except by the straight and parallel lines of ditch and wall, to the 
horizon's edge before you, bounded on one side by the silver 
thread of the river, on the other by the dark curtain of the pine 
forest, is said to be a very beautiful sight. But the new planta- 
tion, as I saw it in February, the ground covered thickly with 
small stumps, and strown with brands and cinders, and half- 
burnt logs, with here and there an old trunk still standing. 


seared and burned, and denuded of foliage, with a company of 
clumsy and uncouth black women, armed with axes, shovels and 
hoes, and directed by a stalwart black man, armed with a whip, 
all slopping about in the black, unctuous mire at tbe bottom of 
the ditches, is a very dreary scene. 


In preparing the ground for the crop, it is first thoroughly 
" chopped," as the operation with the thick, clumsy, heavy hoe 
is appropriately termed. This rudely turns, mixes, and levels 
the surface, two or three inches in depth. It is repeated as 
near as possible to the planting time, the soil being made as fine 
and friable, by crushing the clods, as possible — whence this 
second hoeing is termed the "mash." From the middle of 
March to the first of April planting commences, the first opera- 
tion in which is opening drills, or, as it is termed on the planta- 
tion, " trenching." This is done with narrow hoes, the drills 
or trenches being chopped out about four inches wide, two 
inches deep, and thirteen inches apart. To guide the trenchers, 
a few drills are first opened by expert hands, four feet four inches 
apart, stakes being set to direct them ; the common hands then 
open two between each of these guide rows, measuring the dis- 
tance only by the eye. The accuracy with which the lines are 
made straight is said to be astonishing ; and this, as well as the 
plowing, and many other operations performed- by negroes, as I 
have had occasion to notice with colored laborers at the North, 
no less than among the slaves, indicates that the race generally 
has a good " mathematical eye," much more so at least than the 

As fast as the trenches are made, light hands follow, strewing 


the aeed in them. It is sowed very thickly through the breadth 
of the trenches, so that from two to three bushels of rice are 
used upon an acre. The seed is lightly covered with hoes as 
rapidly as possible after it is sowed. 


The force employed must always be large enough to complete 
the sowing of each field on the day it is begun. The outer gate 
in the trunk is opened as soon as the sowing is finished; and on 
the next rise of tide the water flows in, fills the ditches, and 
gradually rises until the whole ground is covered. 

This is termed the " sprout flow," and the water is left on the 
field until the seed sprouts — from a week to a fortnight, accord- 
ing to the warmth of the season. It is then drawn off, and 
the field is left until the points of the shoots of the young 
plants appear above ground, when the second flooding is given 
it, called the "point flow." At this time, the water remains 
on till all the grass and weeds that have come up with the rice 
are killed, and until the rice itself is three or four inches in 
hight, and so strong that the birds cannot pull it up. As soon 
as the ground is sufficiently dry, after the " point flow," the rice 
is hoed, and a fortnight or three weeks later it is hoed again, 
remaining dry in the mean time. As soon, after the second 
hoeing, as the weeds are killed by the sun (or, if rainy weather, 
immediately, so as to float them off), the field is again flooded, 
the water being allowed to rise at first well above all the plants, 
that the weeds and rubbish which will float may drift to the 
sides of the field, where they are raked out, dried and burned : 
the water is then lowered, so that the points of the rice may be 
seen above it. The- rice will be from six inches to one foot in 


hight at this time, and the water remains on at the same hight 
for. two or three weeks. The exact time for drawing it off is 
determined by the appearance of the rice, and is a point requir- 
ing an experienced and discreet judgment to decide. This is 
called the " long flow." 

The field is again left to dry, after which it receives a third 
and a fourth hoeing, and, when it is judged to need it, the water 
is again let on to a depth that will not quite cover the rice, and 
now remains on till harvest. 

The negroes are employed, until the rice is headed, in wading 
through it, and collecting and bringing out in baskets any 
aquatic grasses or volunteer rice that have grown in the 
trenches. "Volunteer rice" is such as is produced by seed 
that has remained on the ground during the winter, and is of 
such inferior quality that, if it is left to be threshed with the 
crop, it injures its salable value much more than the addition it 
makes to its quantity is worth. 

When the rice has headed, the water is raised still higher, for 
the purpose of supporting the heavy crop, and to prevent the 
straw from being tangled or " laid " by the wind, until it is ripe 
for the sickle. 

The system of culture and irrigation which I have described 
is that most extensively practiced ; but there are several modifi- 
cations of it, used to a greater or less extent. One of these is 
called "planting in the open trench;" in which the seed is 
prepared by washing it with muddy water, and drying it, so that 
a slight coating of clay remains upon it, which, after it is sown, 
is sufficient to prevent its rising out of the trench when the field 
is flooded. This saves the labor of covering it, and the water 
being let on at once after the sowing, it is protected from birds. 


The water remains until the plant has attained a certain size 
and color (commonly from two to three weeks), when it is with- 
drawn, and the subsequent culture is the same as I have de- 
scribed, after the second or "point" flow, in the first plan. 
The "long flow" and the "lay-by flow" are sometimes united, 
the water being gradually raised, as the plant increases in 
hight, and only drawn off temporarily and partially, to supply 
its place with fresh, to prevent stagnation, or to admit the 
negroes to go over the field to collect weeds, etc. When this 
follows the open trench planting, the rice is flooded during all 
but perhaps two weeks of its growth, and receives but two 
instead of four hoeings. Some keep the water on as much as 
possible, only drawing off for barely the time required for the 
negroes to hoe it, when necessary to free the crop from weeds. 
Good planters use these and other modifications of the usual 
plan, according to the season, each having occasional advan- 

It will be obvious that in each method, the irrigation, by pro- 
tecting the seed and plants, destroying weeds and vermin, and 
mechanically sustaining the crop, allows a great deal of labor to 
be dispensed with, which, with an unirrigated crop, would be 
desirable. This economy of labor is probably of greater con- 
sequence than the excessive moisture afforded the plant. Crops 
of rice have been grown on ordinarily dry upland, in the interior 
of the State, quite as large as the average of those of the tidal- 
swamps, but, of course, with an immensely greater expense in 

I should remark, also, that as moisture can be commanded at 
pleasure, it is of much less consequence to be particular as to 
the time of seeding, than it would otherwise be. One field is 


sowed after another, during a jjeriod of two months. The 
Sowings, tillage and harvest of one may follow that of another, 
in almost equally prolonged succession. A large plantation of 
rice may therefore be taken proper care of with a much smaller 
force of hands than would otherwise be necessary. Many of 
these advantages,' the Northern farmer should not neglect to 
consider, would be possessed by grass meadows, similarly sub- 
ject to irrigation. 


The rice-harvest commences early in September. The water 
having been all drawn off the field the previous ebb tide, the 
negroes reap the rice with sickles, taking three or four rows of 
it at a cut. The stubble is left about a foot in hight, and the 
rice is laid across the top of it, so that it will dry rapidly. One 
or two days afterwards it is tied in small sheaves, and then imme- 
diately carried to the barn or stack-yard. This is often some 
miles distant ; yet the whole crop of many plantations is trans- 
ported to it on the heads of the laborers. This work, at the 
hottest season of the year, in the midst of the recently-exposed 
mire of the rice-fields, is acknowledged to be exceedingly severe, 
and must be very hazardous to the health, even of negroes. 
Overseers, who consider themselves acclimated, and who, per- 
haps, only spend the day on the plantation, often at this time 
contract intermittent fever, which, though not in itself immedi- 
ately dangerous, shatters the constitution, and renders them 
peculiarly liable to pneumonia, or other complaints which are 
fatal. When there is a canal running in the rear of the planta- 
tion, a part of the transportation of the crop is made by scows ; 
and very recently, a low, broad-wheeled cart or truck, which can 


be drawn by negroes on the embankments, has been introduced, 
first at the suggestion of a Northerner, to relieve the labor. 

The rice is neatly stacked, much as wheat is in Scotland, in 
round, thatched stacks. Threshing commences immediately 
after" harvest, and on many plantations proceeds very tediously, 
in the old way of threshing wheat, with flails, by hand, occupy- 
ing the best of the plantation force for the most of the winter. 
It is done on an earthen floor, in the open air, and the rice is 
cleaned by carrying it on the heads of the negroes, by a ladder, 
up on to a platform, twenty feet from the ground, and pouring 
it slowly clown, so that the wind will drive oft* the chaff, and 
leave the grain in a heap, under the platform. But on most 
large plantations, threshing-machines, much the same as are used 
with us, driven either by horse-power or by steam-power, have 
been lately adopted, of course, with great economy. Where 
horse-power is used for threshing, the wind is still often relied 
upon for removing the chaff, as of old ; but where steam-engines 
are employed, there are often connected with the threshing-mill, 
very complete separators and fanners, together with elevators 
and other labor-saving machinery, some of it the best for such 
purposes that I have ever seen. 

After the ordinary threshing and cleaning from chaff, the rice 
still remains covered with a close, rough husk, which can only 
be removed by a peculiar machine, that lightly pounds it, so as 
to crack the husk without breaking the rice. Many of the 
largest plantations are provided with these mills, but it is now 
found more profitable (where the expense of procuring them has 
not been already incurred), to sell the rice " in the rough," as it 


is termed, before the husk is removed. There are very exten- 
sive rice-hulling mills in most large towns in Europe and 
America. In most of the European States a discriminating 
duty in favor of rough rice is laid on its importation, to protect 
these establishments. The real economy of the system is 
probably to be found in the fact, that rice in the rough bears 
transportation better than that which is cleaned on the planta- 
tion; also, that when fresh cleaned it is brighter and more 
salable. Eice in the rough is also termed " paddy," an East 
Indian word, having originally this signification. 

The usual crop of rice is from thirty to sixty bushels from an 
acre, but even as high as one hundred bushels is sometimes 
obtained. Its weight (in the rough) is from forty-one to forty- 
nine pounds per bushel. The usual price paid for it (in the 
rough), in Charleston and Savannah, is from eighty cents to one 
dollar a bushel. 

Planters usually employ their factors — merchants residing in 
Charleston, Savannah, or Wilmington, the three rice ports — to 
sell their crop by sample. The purchasers are merchants, or 
mill-owners, or the agents of foreign rice-mills. These factors 
are also employed by tne planters as their general business 
agents, making the necessary purchase of stores and stock for 
their plantation and family supply. Their commission is 2J per 

Eice is used in the rice-district as a constant article of food, 
never being absent from the breakfast and dinner-table of many 
families. On the rice-plantations, particularly those furnished 
with a hulling-mill, it is given a good deal to the negroes, more 
especially during the seasons of their harvest labor, and at the 
holidays. From this circumstance, I judge that it is thought 


better food than maize, although the cracked and inferior rice, 
that would be unmerchantable, is alone given them. Some 
planters, however, say that the cracked rice (broken in the pro- 
cess of removing the hull) is better than the prime, and they 
prefer it for their own table. Eice is screened after the hull is 
removed, so as to produce several different classes, the difference 
in which is mainly in size, the lower denominations including 
only chips and powder of the grain. The classes are indicated 
as follows, at the mills of Mr. Bilby, of New York, where one 
thousand bushels of paddy, or rough rice, produced : 

16,078 lbs. of- " best head" rice. 
596 " of " best prime" rice. 
9,190 " of " good to fair." 

3,243 lbs. of " broken" rice. 

570 " of " chits" or " small." 
5,210 " of " flour" or " douse." 

In the Carolina mills the product is divided into " prime," 
"middling" (broken), "small" or "chits," and "flour" or 
" douse." 

Prime rice, at the best mills, is not only separated from all 
of inferior quality, and from all sand and impurities, but each 
grain is actually polished ; the last operation at the mill being, 
to force it through a rapidly revolving cylinder, of woven wire, 
between which and a sheep-skin flap it is obliged to rub its way 
to the shoot, which lets it out into the sack or barrel in which 
it is transferred to the grocer. 

Having thus described its progress, from the dark mire of its 
amphibious birth till it bas become, at length, the clean, lustrous, 
translucent, pearly, and most beautiful of grains, I will add 
directions for preparing it for the table, according to the most 
esteemed plantation method. 

Kice is increased in bulk, by boiling, 150 per cent., and in 
weight, 100 per cent. Wash it thoroughly in cold water; have 


your pot of water (two quarts for every half-pint of rice) 
boiling — add salt at discretion ; put the rice in, and stir it while 
boiling ; let it boil four minutes (some say ten, and some say 
fifteen) ; then pour off the water as close as you can without 
stirring the rice ; set the pot on some coals, and cover it ; let it 
remain twenty minutes, and then dish up. Each grain, by this 
method, will be swollen and soft, without having lost its indi- 
viduality, and the dish Avill be light, palatable, and nutritious. 
Those who prefer a sodden, starchy, porridge-like mess, may 
boil it longer, and neglect to steam it. A very delicate break- 
fast-roll is made in Georgia, by mixing hominy or rice, boiled 
soft, with rice-flour, and milk, in a stiff batter, to which an egg 
and salt may be added. It is kept over night in a cool place, 
and baked, so as to brought hot to the breakfast-table. 


The system of working slaves by tasks, common on the large 
cotton plantations of the Atlantic States, as well as the rice 
plantations, has certainly great advantages. The slave works 
more rapidly, energetically, and, within narrow limits, with much 
greater use of discretion, or skill, than he is often found to do 
elsewhere. Could the hope of reward for faithfulness be added 
to the fear of punishment for negligence, and some encourage- 
ment be offered to the laborer, to apply his mind to a more 
distant and elevated result than release from his day's toil — 
as, it seems to me, there easily might be — it would, inevitably, 
have not only an improving effect upon his character, but would 
make way for a vastly more economical application of his labor. 

On the contrary, however, the tasked laborer is always watched 
as closely as possible — a driver standing by, often with a whip 


in his Land, that he may he afraid to do his work slightingly. 
Under the most favorable circumstances, by the most liberal and 
intelligent proprietors, he is trusted as little as possible to use 
his own discretion, and it is taken for granted that he will never 
do anything desired of him that he dares avoid. 

Take men of any original character of mind, and use them as, 
mere animal machines, to be operated only by the motive-power 
of fear; provide for the necessities of their animal life in such 
a way that the cravings of their body shall afford no stimulus to 
contrivance, labor, and providence ; work them mechanically, 
under a task-master, so that they shall have no occasion to use 
discretion, except to avoid the imposition of additional labor, or 
other punishment; deny them, as much as possible, the means 
of enlarged information, and high mental culture — and what can 
be expected of them, but continued, if not continually increasing 
stupidity, indolence, wastefulness, and treachery? 

Put the best race of men under heaven into a land where all 
industry is obliged to bear the weight of such a system, and 
inevitably their ingenuity, enterprise, and skill will be paralyzed, 
the land will be impoverished, its resources of wealth will remain 
undeveloped, or will be wasted ; and only by the favor of some 
extraordinary advantage can it compare, in prosperity, with 
countries adjoining, in which a more simple, natural, and healthy 
system of labor prevails. 

Such is the case with the Slave States. On what does their 
wealth and prosperity, such as it is, depend? On certain cir- 
cumstances of topography, climate, and soil, that give them 
almost a monopoly of supplying to the world the most import- 
ant article of its commerce. 

Conventions of planters, met to consider preposterous propo- 


sitions for "regulating the Cotton Market," annually con- 
fess that if the price of this staple should be very greatly 
reduced, by its extended culture in other parts of the world, or 
by any cause greatly diminishing its consumption, every proprie- 
tor at the South would be ruined. If this humiliating state of 
things, extending over so large a region, and yet so distinctly 
defined by the identical lines that separate the Slave from the 
Free States, is not caused by the peculiar system of labor which 
distinguishes the former, there is, at least, an appearance of 
reason in the fanaticism that votes, on that supposition, not to 
extend the area devoted to the experiment. 

On the rice plantation which I have particularly described, the 
slaves were, I judge, treated with at least as much discretion 
and judicious consideration of economy, consistently with hu- 
mane regard to their health, comfort, and morals, as on any 
other in all the Slave States ; yet I could not avoid observ- 
ing — and I certainly took no pains to do so, nor were any special 
facilities offered me for it — repeated instances of that waste and 
misapplication of labor which it can never be possible to guard 
against, when the agents of industry are slaves. Many such 
evidences of waste it would not be easy to specify ; and others, 
which remain in my memory after some weeks, do not adequate- 
ly account for the general impression that all I saw gave me ; but 
there were, for instance, under my observation, gates left open and 
bars left down, against standing orders ; rails removed from fences 
by the negroes, as was conjectured, to kindle their fires with ; 
mules lamed, and implements broken, by careless usage ; a flat- 
boat, carelessly secured, going adrift on the river ; men ordered 
to cart rails for a new fence, depositing them so that a double 
expense of labor would be required to lay them, more than 


would have been needed if they had been placed, as they might 
almost as easily have been, by a slight exercise of forethought ; 
men, ordered to fill up holes made by alligators or craw-fish in 
an important embankment, discovered to have merely patched 
over the outside, having taken pains only to make it appear that 
they had executed their task — not having been overlooked while 
doing it, by a driver ; men, not having performed duties that were 
entrusted to them, making statements which their owner was 
obliged to receive as sufficient excuse, though, he told me, he 
felt assured they were false — all going to show habitual care- 
lessness, indolence, and mere eye-service. 

The constant misapplication and waste of labor on many of 
the rice plantations, is inconceivably great. Owing to the pro- 
verbial stupidity and dogged prejudice of the negro (but peculiar 
to him only as he is more carefully poisoned with ignorance than 
the laborer of other countries), it is exceedingly difficult to intro- 
duce new and improved methods of applying his labor. He always 
strongly objects to all new-fashioned implements ; and, if they are 
forced into his hands, will do his best to break them, or to make 
them only do such work as shall compare unfavorably with what 
he has been accustomed to do without them. It is a common 
thing, I am told, to see a large gang of negroes, each carrying 
about four shovelsful of earth upon a board balanced on his head, 
walking slowly along on the embankment, so as to travel around 
two sides of a large field, perhaps for a mile, to fill a breach — a 
job which an equal number of Irishmen would accomplish, by 
laying planks across the field and running wheelbarrows upon 
them, in a tenth of the time. The clumsy iron hoe is, almost 
everywhere, made to do the work of pick, spade, shovel, and plow. 

I have seen it used to dig a grave. On many plantations, a plow 


has never been used ; the land being entirely prepared for the 
crop by chopping with the hoe, as I have described. There is 
reason, perhaps, for this, on the newly-cleared rice-ground, 
encumbered, as it is, with the close-standing stumps and strong 
roots and protuberances of the late cypress swamp; though, I 
should suppose, it would be more economical to grub these by 
hand, sufficiently to admit of the use of a strong plow. On old 
plantations, where the stumps have been removed, the surface is 
like a garden-bed — the soil a dark, rich, mellow, and exceedingly 
fine loam, the proportion of sand varying very much in different 
districts ; but always considerable, and sufficient, I must think, 
to prevent an injurious glazing from the plow, unless the land is 
very poorly drained. Yet, even on these, the plow is not in 
general use. 

Trials have been made on some of the South Carolina 
plantations of English horse-drills, I understood, without satis- 
factory success ; but I can hardly doubt that with as good 
laborers as the common English clod-hoppers, some modifi- 
cation of them might be substituted advantageously for the 
very laborious hoe and hand-process of planting. I should 
think, too, the horse-hoe, now much used in England for clean- 
ing wheat (which is drilled nearly one-half closer than rice 
usually is), might be adapted to rice-culture, with much saving 
of labor over the present method of hand-hoeing. Half an acre 
a day is the usual task of a negro at this operation. Garrett's 
horse-hoe, on light land, will easily go over ten acres, employ- 
ing one horse, and one man and, a boy. The Judges of the 
Koyal Agricultural Society, at a trial in 1851, reported that 
the work done by it was far superior to any hand-hoeing. 
It requires to be guided, of course, with great carefulness, 


and, perhaps, could not be entrusted to ordinary slave field- 

I am not aware that any application of the reaping-machines, 
now in use on every large grain farm at the North, has been 
made in the rice harvest. By the use of a portable tram-way 
for them to run upon, I should think they might be substituted 
for the present exceedingly slow and toilsome method of reaping 
with the sickle, with economy and great relief to the laborers. 
Such portable tram-ways are in use in England for removing the 
turnip crop from miry fields in winter ; and men earn sixty cents 
a day by contracting to remove heavy crops at the rate of $1 50 
an acre, shifting the trams themselves. It is probable, there- 
fore, that the rice crop might be taken out of the wet ground, and 
carried much more rapidly, and at less expense, to the stack-yard, 
in this way, than by the slow and cruel method now employed. 

Could these, and other labor-saving appliances, in general use 
elsewhere, be introduced, and competition of labor be obtained, 
the cost of raising rice might probably be reduced one-half. 

That free labor, even of whites, can be used in rice culture, if 
not in Carolina, certainly in Louisiana, the poor Creoles of 
that State have proved. But even for Carolina, free laborers 
might be procured by thousands, within a year, from the rice- 
region of China, if good treatment and moderate wages, depend- 
ent on hard work and good behavior, could be sufficiently 
assured to them. That they would suffer no more from malaria 
than do the negroes, there can be little doubt. And why, except 
for the sake of consistency, or for the purpose of bullying the 
moral sense of the rest of mankind, South Carolina should pro- 
pose to reestablish the African slave-trade, while this resource is 
left, I cannot see. If the British and Spanish treat the Chinese 


laborers, which they have imported to the West Indies, worse 
than if they were negroes, as is said, no evidence is offered that 
such cruelty is necessary. The Chinese have heathen vices 
enough, certainly ; hut the want of docility and pains-taking 
industry are not among them. And, looking from the purely 
economical point of view, if orderly industry can be bought of 
them cheaply, nothing more is required. And as regards the 
other main consideration on which the re-opening of the slave- 
trade is advocated — the saving of sinners — the souls of the Chi- 
nese are probably as precious in the eyes of weeping angels, as 
those of the cmestionably-human races of Africa. 


That the slaves on Mr. X.'s plantation were treated with all 
the kindness which a reasonable desire to make their labor 
profitable, and a loyal regard for the laws of the State for the 
preservation of Slavery would allow, was evident. A little more 
than that in fact, for privileges were sometimes oj)enly allowed 
them, contrary to the laws. I was also satisfied, by the repre- 
sentations made to me, that many of the published reports as to 
the suffering of the slaves on the rice-plantations — like that in 
"Porter's Tropical Agriculture," for instance — are greatly 
exaggerated, or, at least, have but very limited application. 
That the slaves are sometimes liable, however, to be treated with 
excessive cruelty, and that often their situation must be very 
unpleasant, will be apparent from a very few considerations. 

In the first place, if the humane Mr. X. could, with impunity, 
disregard the laws, for the purpose of increasing the comforts of 
his negroes, in so important a particular as by allowing them to 
possess, and keep in their cabins, guns and ammunition, for their 


own sport, as he did, -what should prevent a heartless and 
unprincipled man, if such a one could be rich enough to own a 
rice-plantation, from equally disregarding the laws, in the exer- 
cise of his ill humor ? Mr. X. told me that he had sold but 
three slaves off his plantation in twenty years — and these either 
went willingly, or were banished for exceedingly and persistingly 
bad conduct. But during the very week that I was on his 
plantation, one of his neighbors sold an excellent man to a 
trader, without any previous intimation to him that he intended 
to do so, without having any fault to find with him, and without 
the slightest regard, apparently, to the strong ties of kindred 
which were ruptured in the transaction. 

This gentleman, too, though spoken of as eccentric, was evi- 
dently under no social taboo, and was, I believed, considered a 
"pious" man.* 

Again, Mr. X. had established regulations, to prevent his 
negroes from being punished by his subordinates, in the heat of 
sudden anger. Still another of his neighbors at the time of 
my visit, while in a drunken frolic, not only flogged a number 
of his negroes, without cause, but attempted to shoot and stab 
them ; and if he did not succeed in killing any of them outright, 
was only prevented from doing so by what the law would have 
considered — and often has considered — an act of insubordination 
to be justifiably punished with death. 

During the summer, for from four to six months, at least, not 
one rice-planter in a hundred resides on his plantation, but 
leaves it, with all his slaves, in charge of an overseer. The 

* Within fifty miles of this plantation, I heard a Presbyterian clergyman urge 
a man, whom he had never before seen, to purchase some slaves of him, which 
ue had inherited, and had in his possession for many years. 


overseers for rice-plantations have to be chosen from among a 
population of whites comparatively very limited in number : 
from among those, namely, that have been born and reared in 
the miasmatic district of the coast ; or, if they are taken from 
elsewhere, they must be very reckless and mercenary men who 
engage in so dangerous an occupation. 

Mr. X.'s overseer was considered an uncommonly valuable 
one. He had been in his employment for eight years, a longer 
time than Mr. X. had ever known any other overseer to remain 
on one plantation ; yet I have shown that Mr. X. thought it 
necessary to restrain his authority within the narrowest possible 
limits which the law would permit. 

He spoke of the character of overseers in general, as planters 
universally have, whenever I have asked information on the 
point, as exceedingly bad. It was rare that an overseer remained 
more than two years in succession on the same plantation ; and 
often they were changed every year. They were almost univer- 
sally drunken and dissolute, and constantly liable to neglect 
their duties. Their families, when they had them, were generally 
unhappy. They were excessively extravagant ; and but a few 
ever saved anything year by year from their wages. 

The Southern Agriculturist, published at Charleston, South 
Carolina, says : — 

" Overseers are changed every year : a few remain four or five years ; 
but the average length of time they remain on the same plantation will 
not exceed two years. 

— " What are the general characters of overseers ? They are taken 
from the lowest grade of society, and seldom have had the privilege of a 
religious education, and have no fear of offending God, and consequent- 
ly no check on their natural propensities ; they give way to passion, 
intemperance, and every sin, and become savages in their conduct." — 
Southern Agriculturist, Vol. IV., page 351. 


A writer in the " South Carolinian" published at the capital 
of the State, says : — 

— " Somehow, many persons improperly consider overseeing as a 
degrading occupation. I do not see why. Probably the notion arises 
from the impression that everything is done on a plantation by dint of 
lashing. When this is the case, it is the fault of the overseer. My 
opinion is, that of all punishments it is the least efficacious, and that 
fifteen or twenty lashes, lightly inflicted, are as much as should ever be 
given. For serious offenses, other punishments, such as solitary con- 
finement, should be resorted to. I am happy to think this idea is 
rapidly gaining ground among planters ; and could they entirely control 
their overseers, or obtain overseers of better education, a most import- 
ant change in this particular would soon be accomplished." 

The writer is speaking of the cotton planters of the interior, 
who reside on their plantations, and are under no necessity of 
leaving them during the summer, as are rice-planters. 

These extracts, in connection with the well known facts to 
which I have referred, prove, beyond a question, that the slaves 
of the most humane rice-planters are exceedingly likely to be 
subject to the uncontrolled tyranny of men of the most heartless 
and reckless disposition. 

The precariousness of the much-vaunted happiness of the 
slaves can need but one further reflection to be appreciated. No 
white man can be condemned for any cruelty or neglect, no 
matter how fiendish, on slave testimony. The rice-plantations 
generally are in a region very sparsely occupied by whites : the 
plantations are nearly all very large — often miles across : many a 
one of them occupying the whole of an island — and rarely is there 
more than one white man upon a plantation at a time, during 
the summer. Upon this one man each slave is dependent, even 
for the necessities of life. 

What laboring man in the free States can truly be told that 


the slaves are better off than he is ? Nay, in Europe, who 
desires to change his circumstances for these ? Does not Mr. 
Geo. Sanders rather overdo his part, when he tells the French 
Democrats that the working-men of France are in far worse 
circumstances than the American slaves ? What Frenchman, 
about starving to death, is desirous that his wife and children 
sball be " provided for " during life, in the Carolina method? 
Disgraceful to mankind as is the Napoleonic usurpation, this is 
more so. It is not our business to interfere with it, I may 
admit ; but I must expose the sophistry by which we are coaxed 
to aid and comfort it. 



"Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay." 

The Deserted Village. 

" Laws grind the poor, and rich men guide the law." — The Traveler. 

" Laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right ; without this, they are 
mere arbitrary rules." — Jefferson. 

" It is plain that a party so confided in as even a common plowman must be, 
ought not to have his sense of responsibility blunted." — Blackwood. 

"But, gentlemen, there are two kinds of labor ; intelligent and unintelligent 
labor : the former is that which gives character to a nation, and in giving 
character gives wealth and power. Hence, I say, encourage the education of 
all the people, for by so doing you will promote the elevation of character, and 

give that dignity to the founders of wealth, which is justly their due." Abbott 


Aristocracy, or an established superior class, necessitates 
inferiority, or a subject class, at whose expense, in some way, 
the aristocracy is supported. In a rude society, aristocracy may 
be an economical institution, inasmuch as by the same means 
that it has power to rule the people, it is able also to defend 
their commonwealth. The ruder, the more barbarous, and the 
more villainous the state of society, the more easily will aristo- 
cratic government be supported by the people, as being less 
expensive than a constant liability to more improvident and 
unsystematized plundering of the results of labor. As society 

approaches civilization, and the people of a state grow more and 


more gentle, discreet, and individually proud, self-disciplined, 
and self-maintaining, the use of an aristocracy becomes less, and 
the burden of supporting it is less contentedly borne. Finally, 
mankind arrives at the Democratic republic, in which the clerks 
and guards of the common business of a common wealth, instead 
of being made the rulers are simply members of the partnership 
of a community, appointed by their fellow-partners to transact, 
agreeably to then- instructions, such business as they shall have 
agreed to have done in common. 

Every real movement of societies towards this system will be 
favorable to their moral, mental, and material prosperity. A 
man will, as a general rule, always work harder, more skillfully, 
and with more exercise of discretion, for himself than for any one 
else; especially so if his work for another is not wholly volun- 
tary, and his task self-imposed. So of bodies of men : all the 
faculties and talents, art-conception, inventive-genius, investigat- 
ing-enterprise, order and precision, as well as muscular power, 
will be developed and exerted by any man, and by any body of 
men, in proportion to the individual freedom with which they 
are directed, in proportion to the voluntariness — the good will 
with which they are exercised. 

And where a man has these ease, delight, and comfort-pro- 
ducing faculties exercised for him by another, whether superior 
or inferior to him, the less will he be likely to exercise them for 
himself — the less perfectly, the less productively. 

Whatever is to the real advantage of any man, must be, in 
tome degree, to the advantage of others, to all others in the 
world, but especially all others in his community. 

Thus slavery, or aristocracy, a ruling or a subject class in a 
community, is in itself a very great hindrance to its industrial 


progress; that is, to its acquisition of wealth — moral, aesthetic, 
and mental, as well as material wealth. 
This is the way Democrats reason. 


I do not wish to attribute to the South Carolinians any prin- 
ciples or motives which they would generally be disposed, 
themselves, to doubt or deny. I believe they will generally, at 
once, concede the statement to be correct, that it has always 
been the opinion of the rulers of their community, that it is im- 
possible to educate the laboring mass to a sufficiently good 
judgment to enable them to take part in directing affairs of 
state, and that the proper capacity and fitness for tbese duties is 
only to be obtained among those whom wealth has relieved from 
the necessity of labor, and therefore special encouragement 
should be given to this class to extend its education to the utter- 
most. The most intelligent government, it is believed, will be 
the best ; and as it is impracticable to make the average intelli- 
gence of all sorts of people equal to the highest intelligence of 
some, the policy of South Carolina community has been to 
develop the highest possible culture in a few, and to manage, in 
one way or another, to give political control to these few. To 
develop, not the highest average intelligence practicable among 
the people, and to trust government to this high average, but to 
develop the highest attainable intelligence in some originally 
fortunate ones, and to give government into the hands of this 
higher intelligence. 

The Democratic theory of the social organization is every- 
where ridiculed and rejected, in public as well as in private, in 
the forum as well as the newspapers. 


The late G overnor Hammond declared : — 

" I endorse, without reserve, the sentiment of Gov. McDuffie, that 
' Slavery is the very corner-stone of our republican edifice,' while I repu- 
diate, as ridiculously absurd, that much lauded, but nowhere accredited, 
motto of Mr. Jefferson, that ' all men are born free and equal.' "* 

And a late Chancellor of the State, in an address to its 
Society of Learning, asked — in a connection which indicated 
that he entertained no doubt that the opinions of his audience 
coincided with his own : — 

" Would you do a benefit to the horse or the ox, by giving 1 him a 
cultivated understanding, or fine feelings ? So far as the mere laborer 
has the pride, the knowledge, or the aspirations of a free man, he is un- 
fitted for his situation, and must doubly feel its infelicity. If there are 
sordid, servile, and laborious offices to be performed, is it not better 
that there should be sordid, servile, and laborious beings to perform 
them ?"f 

So far as the polity of South Carolina has differed from that 
of the other American States, it has been by its being more 
strongly, steadily, and consistently pervaded by these ideas, than 
theirs ; and it is as the exponent of this polity, that its history 
and present condition most challenges examination. 


In South Carolina, as in Virginia, the influential settlers were 
" gentlemen." " Many of them," says Hewitt, the first historian 

* Letter to Thomas Clarkson, by Got. Hammond, of South Carolina. — De 
Bow's Review. 

t The Charleston Standard, of Nov. — , 1855, contains a report of the annual 
address to the graduating class of the State Military Asylum, of another address 
to the literary societies of the institution, and an editorial article on education ; in 
all which, the Democratic educational system of the North, and of Prussia, is 
ridiculed and condemned ; and, by the two orators, the proposition is advocated, 
that the State should educate only its capitalists and the officers or overseers, 
who, under orders of the capitalists, shall command and direct the laborers. 


of the Colony, "pampered citizens, whose wants luxury had 
increased, and rendered them impatient of fatigue, and the 
restraint of legal authority."* 

In the first fundamental constitution of the Colony, provision 
was made for a race of hereditary tenants to have farms of ten 
acres each ; one-eighth of the produce of which was to be paid 
over, as rent, to the gentlemen — lords of the manor. Two 
classes of hereditary nobility were provided for. Decisions of 
the lords of the manor, or of any of the nobility, in matters 
concerning their tenantry, were without judicial appeal. No 
man was eligible to any office, except he was the possessor of a 
certain definite extent of landed estate — larger or smaller, 
according to the dignity of his office. Negro slavery was 
provided for, and every freeman was declared to have absolute 
power,, extending to life and death, over his slaves. 

This constitution is supposed to have been drafted by John 
Locke ; but Locke's opinion of negro slavery was certainly very 
inconsistent with any design to provide for its permanent estab- 
lishment in the Colony. He describes it, elsewhere, to be 
" the state of war continued between a lawful conqueror and his 
captive ;" * * * " so opposite to the generous temper and 
courage of our nation, that 'tis hardly to be conceived that an 
Englishman, much less a gentleman, should plead for it." 

Having the least democratic government, South Carolina was, 
almost from the first, distinguished as the worst governed, most 
insubordinate, and most licentious and immoral of all the English 
settlements in America. Negroes, from Africa, were not only 
eagerly purchased, but wars were made upon the Indians of the 

* Hewitt's History of South Carolina and Georgia. London, 1779 ; vol. i., 
page 75. 


country, for the purpose of capturing them, and using them as 
slaves. The different tribes of Indians were encouraged to -war 
with one another, and the prisoners of each and all tribes and 
parties, were bought for slaves. So successfully was this cat- 
and-monkey trick performed, that multitudes of Carolina Indians 
were exported, as slaves, to the West Indies, where they 
were exchanged for rum, which thereby became very cheap 
in the Colony, and made drunkenness very common. Sea- 
rovers and filibusters were openly and joyfully received, and sup- 
plied with every necessity — even with arms and ammunition — 
an exchange for treasure that had been taken from ships, or 
plundered towns, on the Spanish main. Several of these free- 
booters purchased land, and became resident planters of the 
Colony." Party spirit and party tyranny were stronger than 
they have often been, anywhere in the world ; and the cavalier 
party in the legislature, although the constitution guaranteed 
religious freedom, and two-thirds of the people were Dissenters, 
did not hesitate, when they had a majority of one, to use the 
opportunity to disfranchise all who refused to accept the dog- 
mas of their church,' and so rid themselves, if possible, of their 
opposition forever. 

Costly churches were erected, and clergymen were supported 
in luxury, at the expense of the Colony. " The Dissenters," 
says Hewitt, ' ; were not only obliged to erect and uphold their 
own churches, and maintain their clergy by private contributions, 
but also to contribute their share, in the way of taxes, towards 
the maintainance of the establishment. This, indeed, many of 
them considered a grievance ; but, having but few friends in the 

* Hewitt, i., 116. 


provincial assembly, no redress could be obtained foe them. 
Besides, the establishment gave its adherents many advantageous 
privileges, in point of power and authority, over persons of other 
denominations." The English-born of the Colony were, nearly 
all, gradually drawn into the establishment, by the worldly 
advantages it offered. The Scotch and Irish, only, steadfastly 
adhered to their conviction, and maintained the Presbyterian 
organization and worship.* 


The proprietors, having permitted a band of French refugees 
to settle in the Colony, and, for their encouragement, ordered 
that they should have equal rights with the Anglo-Saxons, the 
latter immediately began to persecute and oppress them by every 
means in their power. " Their haughty spirit could not brook the 
thoughts of sitting in assembly with the rivals of the English 
nation, for power and dominion." They maintained that the 
proprietors had no right to make low foreigners partakers 
of the privileges of natural-born Englishmen; that their mar- 
riages, having been performed by a clergyman who had not 
been ordained by an English bishop, were unlawful, and their 
children were bastards ; they insisted that they should be 
allowed no vote ; that they should not be returned on any 
jury, nor sworn for the trial of issues between subject and 
subject."} - 

* Cotemporaneously with the infernal negro-laws of the Province, the en- 
slavement of Indians, and the public entertainment of pirates, laws were also 
maintained to regulate the deportment of the people, on Sundays, for punishing 
those who used profane language, etc., and the legislature refused to enforce 
payment of debts due to creditors living out of the Province. 

t Hewitt, i., 111. 



The laws to protect trie masters against the slaves, were of a 
severity that no necessity could justify ; while there was scarcely 
a semblance of law to guard the slaves against the inhumanity 
of the whites. Slaves, endeavoring to flee from the cruelties to 
which they were generally subjected,* were permitted to be shot, 
and were required, when recaptured alive, on pain of heavy 
penalties upon their owners, to be mutilated in a manner too 
bad to mention. If they died in consequence, their owners were 
entitled to compensation for their loss, from the colonial 
treasury. Slaves, committing burglary, were punished by being 
slowly burned to death.f 


About 1730, Hewitt says : — 

" The old planters now acquiring, every year, greater strength of hands 
by the large importation of negroes, and extensive credit in England, 
began to turn their attention, more closely than ever, to the lands of the 
Province (that is, to the engrossment of landed estate). A spirit of 
emulation broke out among them, for securing tracts of the richest 
lands of the Province ; but especially such as were most conveniently 
situated for navigation." 

Complaints were made to the legislature that 

" All the valuable lands on navigable rivers and creeks, adjacent to 
Port Royal, had been run out in exorbitant tracts, under color of 
patents granted, by proprietors, to Cassiques and Landgraves, by which 
the complainants, who had, at the hazard of their lives, defended the 
country, were hindered of obtaining such lands as could be useful and 
beneficial, at the established quit rents, although the Attorney and 
Solicitor-General of England had declared such patents void." 

* Hewitt, i., 120; ii., 96. t Hildreth. 


The state of the Colony, at the end of the year 1773, is thus 

described : 

"Each planter, eager in pursuit of large possessions of land, * * 
strenuously vied with his neighbor for a superiority of fortune, and 
seemed impatient of every restraint that hindered or cramped him in his 
favorite pursuit." 


The profits of rice culture, in which no poor man could 
engage, increased the ability, without at all diminishing the 
eagerness of the richer class to possess slaves. No regard to 
the general welfare could restrain the importation. 

In an address to the King, about 1750, it is stated : " The 
only commodity of consequence produced,- is rice." The " ne- 
groes are ready to revolt on the first opportunity, and are eight 
times as many in number as there are white men able to bear arms." 
"At the lowest computation," the export of rice is declared to 
be two hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling in value, 
and to require the use of one hundred and sixty ships. This 
crop was almost wholly the produce of slave-labor. Little or no 
result of the labor of white men w r as exported, and the free 
laboring men were constantly engaged in trying to preserve 
something of their few legal rights, from the rapacity and 
ambition of the rich, slave-owning aristocracy. 


The tendency which, during the last century, has been per- 
ceptible in every Christian land, and among all people intimately 
associated with the civilized world, towards pure democracy, 
has, from time to time, been revealed in South Carolina, in 
the gradual modification of the aristocratic system ; but, even 


now, no man can be admitted to a seat in the legislature 
of the State, unless he is the owner of real estate to the value 
of, at least, one hundred and fifty pounds sterling ; and, to be 
eligible to the upper house, he must possess a freehold estate 
of, at least, three hundred pounds value. The number of 
representatives, from any particular part of the State, is pro- 
portionate, not to the number of citizens residing in it, but to 
the value of property owned in it. 

Five-sixths of the whole white population of the State, 
residing in those counties where there are the fewest slaves, 
have but seventy-eight out of one hundred and twenty-two 
representatives. The Pendleton district, with over 2G,000 white 
inhabitants, is represented by seven members ; the two parishes 
of St. Philip and St. Michael, with less than 19,000 white 
inhabitants, send eighteen. Nowhere else, in the United States, 
and, probably, not even in England, are elections so entirely 
contests of money and of personal influence, and less expres- 
sions of judgment, upon subjects of difference in politics, as 
in South Carolina. In many parts, if I was rightly informed, 
no effective opposition can ever be offered to the will of some 
few of the " old families, who usually have a good understand- 
ing among themselves, who shall be chosen to fill any offices 
at all desirable.* 

As far as the slaves are concerned, there has been no es- 
sential political progress at all. The laws have been only 
slightly modified in conformity with more humane, but not mere 

* " There's Beaufort, for instance," I was told; " if you had asked any well- 
informed Carolinian the name of its representatives, at any time in the last 

forty years, he would have replied ; ' It is , or , or , or .' It is 

always a question only of succession, among the young gentlemen of those four 


philosophical views of the modern legislators. And even as late 
as 1808, two slaves were publicly and judicially burned alive, 
over a slow fire, in the city of Charleston. In 1816 a grand 
jury declared in their official presentment, that instances of 
negro homicide were common, and that the murderers were 
allowed to continue in the full exercise of their powers as 
masters and mistresses. In the annual message of Governor 
Adams to the legislature, this year (1855), he observes : 

" The administration of our laws, in relation to our colored popula- 
tion, by our courts of magistrates and freeholders, as these courts are at 
present constituted, calls loudly for reform. Their decisions are rarely 
in conformity with justice or humanity. I have felt constrained, in a ma- 
jority of the cases brought to my notice, either to modify the sentence, or 
set it aside altogether. I recommend, in all cases involving life, that the 
trial of slaves and free persons of color be held at the court-house of 
the district in which the offense is committed ; that the clerk, ordinary, 
and sheriff of the district, constitute a court to try such cases." 

To this time, whether with justice, I know not, South 
Carolinians have a reputation generally, at the South, not 
only of being the most bigoted and fanatical conservators of 
Slavery,, but also of being hard masters to their slaves. I 
have, several times, been cautioned by other Southerners, 
not to draw general conclusions with regard to the condi- 
tion of slaves in the South at large, from what I saw and 
heard of those belonging to persons born in South Carolina. 
If this report is unjust to the South Carolinians, I think it 
probably is not without foundation in some truth ; and probably 
this : that the South Carolina planters have more faith in the 
Divine right of masters over subjects than those of other origin 
and education, and consequently are more determined and 
thorough in the exercise of despotic power. None will deny, 


at any rate, that there is a difference of this kind between South 
Carolina planters and all others, nor doubt that it has had 
considerable influence on the economy, public and private, of 
the State. 

The ruling intellect of the State has now, as ' it originally 
had, more than that of any other American community, a 
profound conviction, that God created men to live in distinct 
classes or castes, one beneath another, one subject to an- 
other. As far as possible, this ruling intellect tries to make 
practicably reconciliable the social system of the State with 
the Constitution of the Confederacy, from which it finds it 
inconvenient to make itself, alone, independent. The whole 
legislation of the State is a succession of miserable compro- 
mises for this purpose. One year, a little is yielded to the 
common people within the State ; the next, an effort is made 
to bully the General Government or the democratic States 
into some retreat from the Confederate principles ; the next, 
circulars are sent to the other Slave States, to coax or shame 
them into joining South Carolina in seceding from the hateful 
connection with States which, purely because they are dis- 
posed to be consistently democratic, are hated and despised 
by her rulers. 


It is not, I suppose, to be questioned, that in those equalities for 
which a man is honored in society — for refinement of manners, and 
the power of being agreeable to social equals — the wealth which 
has been accumulated in a few hands, from the long unrequited 
labor and suffering of the slaves (I speak of the past, when no one 
will doubt their suffering), has given some few South Carolinians 


a superiority over most of the citizens of the more democratic 
States. One could beat up recruits for a dinner-party, or a 
hall room, in Charleston, as well, at least, as anywhere else in 
America — better than anywhere at the North. And the qualifi- 
cations for this purpose are certainly most desirable ones, and, 
where generally possessed, add more than- profundity of judgment 
in metaphysics, or skill in bargaining, to the wealth of a com- 
munity. It may be a question, nevertheless, if they are not 
sometimes acquired at too great an expense — a. question of' 
social economy. 

I am disposed, from the pleasure I have myself received from 
the little intercourse I by chance have had with educated Caro- 
linians, to do them all justice on this point — a point on which 
they habitually make such great claims. But I must observe, 
also, that I have been astonished by the profound ignorance and 
unmitigated stupidity I have found in some planters of the 
State, of considerable wealth, and owning large numbers of 
slaves. There are notorious anecdotes of wealthy Carolinians, 
pdso, which show them to be sometimes not only ignorant and 
stupid, but quite as vulgar as the most ridiculous palace- 
builders in New York. Nevertheless, let us believe that there 
is less vulgar display, and more intrinsic elegance, and habitual 
mental refinement in the best society of South Carolina, than 
in any distinct class anywhere among us. This is to be ex- 
pected from their social system. 

Leisure, and bountiful provision for the future being secured, 
it is also almost a matter of course, that men will amuse them- 
selves with literature, arts and science. South Carolina has, 
therefore, always boasted several men of learning (men learned 
in the classics, and abstract science), and many belle-lettre 


scholars. Yet scarce anything has been accomplished by them 
for the advancement of learning and science, and there have been 
fewer valuable inventions and discoveries, or designs in art, or 
literary compositions of a high rank, or anything else, contrived 
or executed for the good of the whole community, or the world 
at large (cotton and rice-growing excepted), in South Carolina, 
than in any community of equal numbers and wealth, probably 
in the world. What Hewitt said of the wealthy class, previous 
to the Revolution, is still remarkably true of it : 

" In the progress of society, they have not advanced beyond that period 
in which men are distinguished more by their external than internal 
accomplishments. Hence it happens, that beauty, figure, agility, and 
strength form the principal distinctions among them. Among English 
people, they are chiefly known by the number of their slaves, the value 
of their annual produce, or the extent of their landed estate. They dis- 
cover no bad taste for the polite arts, such as music, drawing, fencing, 
and dancing. And it is acknowledged by all, but especially by strangers, 
that the ladies considerably outshine the men. Several natives, who 
have had their education in Britain, have distinguished themselves by 
their knowledge in the laws and constitution of their country ; but those 
who have been bred in the province, having their ideas confined in a 
narrower sphere, have, as yet, made little figure as men of genius or 

Such were and are the few rich. What of the many poor? 


In an account of an interview, given by a South Carolina 
gentleman, between General Marion, himself, and the Baron de 
Kalb, during the Revolutionary war, the following conversation 
is reported : 

" He received us politely, observing that we were the first Carolinians 

* Calhoun was educated in Connecticut, and he was the son of n poor Irishman, 


that he had seen, which had not a little surprised him. * * * 'I 
thought,' said he, ' that British tyranny would have sent great numbers 
of the South Carolinians to join our arms ; but so far from it, they are 
all, as we are told, running to take British protections ; surely, they are 
not tired already of fighting for liberty.' 

" We told him the reason was very plain to us, who were inhabitants 
of that country, and knew very well the state of things there. 

" ' Aye ?' said he ; ' well, what can the reason be V 

" ' Why, sir,' said Marion, ' the people of Carolina form two classes, 
the rich and the poor. The poor are generally very poor, because, not 
being necessary to the rich, who have slaves to do all their work, they 
get no employment of them. Being thus unsupported by the rich, they 
continue poor and low spirited. They seldom get money ; and, indeed, 
what little they do get. is laid out in brandy, to raise their spirits, and 
not on books and newspapers, to get information. Hence, they know 
nothing of the comparative blessings of our country, or of the dangers 
which threaten it, and therefore care nothing about it.* As to the 
other class (continued Marion), the rich, they are generally very rich, 
and, consequently, afraid to stir unless a fair chance offer, lest the 
British should burn their houses and furniture, and carry off their 
negroes and stock.' "f 

And on another occasion, near the close of his life, Marion is 

reported to have discoursed as follows : 

" What, sig ! keep a nation in ignorance, rather than vote a little of 

* It is a fact, I believe, that the British recruited more men, during the war, 
in South Carolina, than were ever induced to take up arms against them. The 
Tories of the North were generally men of wealth, and the patriots were the 
common people. In Carolina, it was the reverse. The great mass of the people 
were perfectly indifferent, and took sides with the party that offered them 
the best pay. Even the patriotism of the planters could, in many cases, be 
ascribed to the fact that the Revolution relieved them of their liabilities to their 
creditors, most of them being excessively in debt to their English factors. It 
was not until an express exception from the non-exportation clause of the 
" American Association," of the article of rice, had been made for her special 
benefit, that the Colony was induced to join the others in the agreement of com- 
mercial non-intercourse with Great Britain, which preceded the outbreak of the 

t The Life of General Francis Marion, by Brig. Gen. P. Horrey, of Marion's 
Brigade, and M. L. Weems. 


their own money for education ? Only let such politicians remember 
what poor Carolina has already lost through her ignorance. What was 
it brought the British, last war, to Carolina, but her lack of knowledge? 
Ilad the people been enlightened, they would have been united ; and 
had they been united, they would never have been attacked a second 
time by the British. For, after the drubbing they got from us at Fort 
Moultrie, in 1776, they would have as soon attacked the devil as have 
attacked Carolina again, had they not heard that they were ' a house 
divided against itself — or, in other words, had amongst us a great 
number of Tories, men who through mere ignorance were disaffected to 
the cause of liberty, and ready to join the British, against their own 
countrymen. Thus, ignorance begat toryism, and toryism begat losses 
in Carolina, of which few have any idea." 

He then goes on to show that, owing to the foothold the Brit- 
ish gained in Carolina, the war was protracted, two years ; and 
makes a curious estimate of the loss to Carolina in those two 
years, at $15,100,000. "As a proof," he continues, "that such 
hellish tragedies would never have been acted, had our State 
been enlightened, only let us look at the people of New 
England : Eeligion had taught them that God created men to 
be happy ; that, to be happy, they must have virtue ; that virtue 
is not to be attained without knowledge ; nor knowledge without 
instruction ; nor public instruction without free schools ; nor 
free schools without legislative order." 


Since the Eevolution, the effects of the republican general 
government, and the influence of the democratic societies of the 
North, have certainly forced some improvement upon the State ; 
but how slowly these counteract the results of its ruling, interior, 
social and political polity, may be judged from the following 
extract from a recent message of Governor Seabrook, to the 
Legislature : 


" Education has been pi*ovided by the Legislature, but for one class 
of the citizens of the State, which is the wealthy class. For the middle 
and poorer classes of society it has done nothing, since no organized sys- 
tem has been adopted for that purpose. You have appropriated seventy- 
five thousand dollars annually to free schools ; but, under the present 
mode of applying it, that liberality is really the profusion of the prodi- 
gal, rather than the judicious generosity which confers real benefit. The 
few who are educated at public expense in those excellent and truly 
useful institutions, the Arsenal and Citadel Academies [military schools], 
form almost the only exception to the truth of this remark. Ten years 
ago, twenty thousand adults, besides children, were unable to read or 
write, in South Carolina. Has our free-school system dispelled any of 
this ignorance ? Are there not any reasonable fears to be entertained 
that the number has increased since that period ?" 

And in the message of Gov. Adams, December, 1855, urging the 
appointment of a State Superintendent of Education, he says : 

" Make, at least, this effort, and if it results in nothing — if, in conse- 
quence of insurmountable difficulties in our condition, no improvement 
can be made on the present system, and the poor of the land are hope- 
lessly doomed to ignorance, poverty, and crime — you will, at least, feel 
conscious of having done your duty, and the public anxiety on the sub- 
ject will be quieted." 

A Southern-born gentleman, who had resided in South Caro- 
lina during many years, and who has lately been a traveler in 
Spanish America, in expressing to me his doubts of the utter 
degeneracy, as commonly understood, of the Spanish and His- 
pano-Indian races, and his conviction of their many good 
qualities and capabilities, said, that he had seen, among the 
worst of them, and those who had been most unfavorably cir- 
cumstanced, none so entirely debased, so wanting in all energy, 
industry, purpose of life, and in everything to be respected and 
valued, as among extensive communities on the banks of the 

Oongaree, in South Carolina. The latter, he said, in answer to 


my inquiries, " are the descendants of the former proprietors of 
nearly all the land of the region ; but, for generations, their 
fathers have been gradually selling off to the richer planters 
moving in among them, and living on the purchase money of 
their lands, and their children have been brought up in listless, 
aimless, and idle independence, more destructive to them, as a 
race, than even forced and servile industry might have been. 
They are more ignorant, their superstitions are more degrading, 
they are much less enduring and industrious, far less cheerful 
and animated, and very much more incapable of being improved 
and elevated, than the most degraded peons of Mexico. Their 
chief sustenance is a porridge of cow-peas, and the greatest 
luxury with which they are acquainted is a stew of bacon and 
peas, with red pepper, which they call ' Hopping John.' " 

Let the reader recall to mind Hewitt's description of the 
knavery exercised by the early gentlemen of the Colony, in the 
mad passion to acquire large landed estates, and consider that 
these are their children, and he will see the repetition of the 
Virginia lesson, and the words again verified — " visiting the 
sins of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth 


Not very essentially different is the condition of a class 
of people living in the pine-barrens nearest the coast, as 
described to me by a rice-planter. They seldom have any meat, 
he said, except they steal hogs, which belong to the planters, 
or their negroes, and their chief diet is rice and milk. " They 
are small, gaunt, and cadaverous, and their skin is jus>t the 
color of the sand-hills they live on. They are quite incapable 


of applying themselves steadily to any labor, and their habits 
are very much like those of the old Indians." 

A Northern gentleman, who had been spending a year in South 
Carolina, said to me, after speaking respectfully of the char- 
acter of some of the wealthier class, " but the poor whites, out 
in the country, are the meanest people I ever saw : half of them 
would be considered objects of charity in New York. When I 

was at Springs, in the summer, I took too long a walk one 

day, and stopped at a miserable shanty to rest myself. There 
were four grown-up girls in the shanty : one of them was weav- 
ing, and the rest did not seem to have anything to do. I found 
their father was a blacksmith, who had been working at his 
trade in the neighborhood for forty years : all that time he had 
lived in that hovel, and was evidently still in abject poverty. I 
asked the girl at the loom how much she could make a day by 
her work. She did not know, but I ascertained that the stuff 
she wove was bought at a factory in the vicinity, to be used for 
bagging yarn ; and she was paid in yarn — so many pounds of 
yarn for a piece of the bagging. She traded off the yarn at a 
store for what she had to buy, at the rate of a dollar and ten 
cents for this number of pounds of it. If she worked steadily 
from daylight to dark she could make not more than a seventh 
part of a piece in a day. Her wages, therefore, were less than 
sixteen cents a day, boarding herself." 

" These people," he continued, " are regarded by the better 
class with as little respect as the slaves; and, in fact, they have 
hardly more self-respect. One day, when I was riding out with 
a gentleman, we passed a house, at the door of which an old 
man and four rather good-looking girls made their appearance. 
The gentleman told me that two of the girls were notorious har- 


lots, and that their father was understood not to object to their 
bearing that character." 

He added further evidence of a similar character, indicating 
that a very slight value is placed upon female virtue among this 
class. A Southern physician expressed the opinion to me that 
if an accurate record could be had of the births of illegitimate 
children, as in Sweden and France, it would be found to be as 
great, among the poor people in the part of the country in 
which he practiced, as of those born in wedlock. A planter 
told me that any white girl who could be hired to work for 
wages would certainly be a girl of easy virtue ; and he would not 
believe that such was not the case with all our female domestics 
at the north. The northern gentleman who related to me the 
facts repeated on the last page, told me he was convinced that 
real chastity among the young women of the non-slaveholding 
class in South Carolina was as rare as the want of it among 
farmers' daughters at the north. I can only say, in the absence 
of reliable data upon the subject, that the difference in the man- 
ners and conversation and general demeanor of the two is not 
unfavorable to this conclusion. 

I am not unaware that it is often asserted, as an advantage of 
slavery (in the elaborate defense of the institution by Chancellor 
Harper, for instance), that the ease with which the passions of 
men of the superior caste are gratified by the loose morality, or 
inability to resist, of female slaves, is a security of the chastity 
of the white women. I can only explain this, consistently with 
my impression of the actual state of things, by supposing that 
these writers ignore entirely, as it is a constant custom for 
Southern writers to do, the condition of the poorer class of the 
white population. (Witness, for instance, Mrs. Tyler's letter to 


the Duchess of Sutherland.) Chancellor Harper says : " It is 
related rather as a matter of tradition, not unminglecl with won- 
der, that a Carolinian woman of education and family proved 
false to her conjugal faith." And it is, I presume, to women of 
education and " family" alone that he referred, in claiming an 
especial glory to the South in this particular. In any case, 
the claim is unfounded of a higher character, in this respect, 
than belongs to women favorably situated in the free states, 
though those of the south are unexcelled in the world for every 
quality which commands respect, admiration and love. 

In speaking of the severity of the laws with regard to free 
negroes at the south, a Southerner remarked : " It is impossible 
that we should not always have a class of free colored people, 
because of the fundamental law, partus sequiter ventrem. There 
must always be women among the lower class of whites, so poor 
that their favors can be purchased by the slaves, and the off- 
spring must be constitutionally entitled to freedom ; and al- 
though it may be kidnapped, or illegally sold into slavery by the 
mother, it cannot be enacted that all persons of color shall be, 
considered ipse facto, slaves." 

The Richmond Enquirer, of the 12th June, 1855, gives an 
account of a case decided in the Botecourt Circuit Court, as 
follows : 

" Eliza Crawford, and five children, colored, suing for 
Freedom. — The case was decided in favor of the plaintiffs, the evidence 
being full and complete that the chief plaintiff, Eliza, was born of a 
white womau, of Georgia. She is now about thirty-five years of age, 
and has been in slavery between fifteen and twenty years." 

The reports of the agents employed by religious asso- 
ciations to travel among the poor of South Carolina, indicate, 


strongly, a state of ignorance and superstition in the population 
of large districts, hardly exceeded in Mexico, and unparalleled, 
so far as I know, in civilized Europe. The log-book of a col- 
porteur yields, for instance, the following statistical results of 
a few days' observations in his cruising-ground : 

" Visited sixty families, numbering two hundred and twenty-one 
souls over ten years of age ; only twenty-three could read, and seven- 
teen write. Forty-one families destitute of the Bible. Average of 
their going to church, once in seven years. Several, between thirty and 
forty-five years old, had heard but one or two sermons in their lives. 
Some grown-up youths had never heard a sermon or prayer, until my 
visit, and did not know of such a' being as the Saviour ; and boys and 
girls, from ten to fifteen years old, did not know who made them. All 
of one family rushed away, when I knelt to pray, to a neighbor's, beg- 
ging them to tell what I meant by it. Other families fell on their faces, 
instead of kneeling."* 

The slave-labor of the State is almost exclusively devoted to 
the culture of cotton and rice. Live stock, meat, corn, bread- 
stuffs, and forage — though the soil and climate of a large part 
are entirely favorable to their production — are very largely im- 
ported ; and, for nearly all sorts of skillfully manufactured 
goods, the people are quite dependent on the Free States. 
Trade, and skilled labor of all sorts, is mainly in the hands of 
persons from the Free States, or foreign countries, and the 
population of this class is rapidly increasing. Previous to an 
election for a sheriff, in Charleston, in 1855, two hundred and 
fifty-two foreigners were naturalized in five days. The pecu- 

* Any amount of similar testimony may be obtained at the offices of those 
noble institutions, the Southern Aid Society and the American Tract Society, 
in New York. It is curious how little complaint is made of the impertinence of 
these Northern societies : why are not theif agents sent back, in tar and feathers, 
to " take care of their own vicious and wretched poor ?" 


niary inducements to emigration may be judged from the fol- 
lowing facts : 

" Lands, with heavy timber upon them, are selling, within twenty 
miles of Charleston, for prices varying from one to five dollars an acre- 
Wood is selling at six dollars and a half a cord, by the boat-load, 
delivered at the wharf ; and at seven dollars and a half by the wood- 
factors, in the city. Masts and spars are brought from Boston. Brick, 
made from clay, which costs nothing, is worth twelve dollars a thou- 

I lately saw it stated in a Charleston paper, that the most 
prosperous community in the State was one composed exclu- 
sively of Germans, in the hill country of the West. The 
observation was apropos to the foundation among them of an 
educational institution, of a high order ; and it appeared that 
they had considerable manufactories in successful operation, and 
were succeeding so well, in farming and other industry — un- 
doubtedly free laboring — as to have capital to spare to aid a 
rail-road enterprise. 

The estimatiQn in which the foreign-born working-people are 
held by the enlightened natives, may be judged from the follow- 
ing extract from a South Carolina newspaper,! which also gives 
a hint of the predominant feeling among the capitalists towards 
that class of the poor natives who bring their own industry in 
competition with that of the slaves. 

" A large proportion of the mechanical force that migrate to the 
South, are a curse instead of a blessing ; they are generally a worthless, 
unprincipled class — enemies to our peculiar institutions, and formidable 

* Charleston Standard, 1855, in advocacy of reopening the African Slave- 

t The Carolinian, I think. ; but, in cutting it out, I omitted to note the au- 
thority and date. 


barriers to the success of our native mechanics. Not so, however, with 
another class who migrate southward — we mean that class known as 
merchants ; they are generally intelligent and trustworthy, and they 
seldom fail to discover their true interests. They become slaveholders 
and landed proprietors ; and, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, they 
are better qualified to become constituents of our institution, than even 
a certain class of our native-born — who, from want of capacity, are 
perfect drones in society, continually carping about slave competition 
and their inability to acquire respectable position and employment, 
when, in fact, their natural acquirements and ambition do not excel 
the wisdom of the mole — they never look beyond the point of their nose, 
or aspire to anything beyond the capacity of a drudge in society. * * 
" The intelligent mercantile class, who come among us from the 
North, and settle, are generally valuable acquisitions to society, and 
every way qualified to sustain ' our institution ;' but the mechanics, 
most of them, are pests to society, dangerous among the slave popula- 
tion, and ever ready to form combinations against the interest of the 
slaveholder, against the laws of the country, and against the peace of 
the Commonwealth." 

This must refer to some movements, which have lately been 
made, for enlarging the basis of suffrage, and. for permitting the 
people to vote directly for Presidential electors. __ South Carolina 
stands alone among all the States in this, that the Presiden- 
tial electors are chosen by the legislature. No native even 
can exceed, in idolatry to Slavery, the mass of the ignorant 
foreign-born laborers. Their hatred of the negro is propor- 
tionate to the equality of - their intellect and character to 
his : and their regard for Slavery, to their disinclination to 
compete with him, in a fair field. 

The Census Keport, which should be the best authority in the 
matter, is evidently more than ordinarily unreliable, as an index 
to the average material wealth of the people of this State. There 
is every reason to suppose that the condition of the poorest of 
the people was often left unascertained, generally, in the Slave 


States — the vagabond habits of many of them keeping them out 
of the reach of the marshals ; also, I am sure, from what I 
have heard, that the marshals were generally excessively lazy, 
and neglectful of their duty, among that class which was most 
ignorant, or indifferent on the subject.* 

By the returns of the South Carolina marshals, the cash 
value of land, in the State, appears to be $5-08 an acre ; by the 
legislative documents of the State, for the same year, the cash 
value of real estate, exclusive of town lots, appears to be but 
sixty cents an acre. (The value of land is given in the several 
counties, and foots up, in the one case, $10,082,427, and 
$82,431,684 in the other; so it can be no typographical error.) 
The marshals were directed to make out their returns from the 
assessment rolls, and, where the assessments were made on sums 
less than the intrinsic value of the land, to add the necessary 
per centage. The average addition made, under this provision, 
by the South Carolina marshals, is over 800 per cent. ; while, at 
page 46 of the official Abstract of the Census, the difference 
between the real and assessed value of real and personal estate, 
in South Carolina, is shown to be but one-seventieth of one 
per cent. 

Attention was called to these discrepancies, immediately after 
the publication of the document, by a writer in the National 
Era, at Washington — but no explanation has ever been made ; 
and, until one is offered, either the honesty or the competency 
of the South Carolina marshals must be so doubtful, that 

* I have seen an advertisement of a deputy Census marshal, in Alabama or 

Georgia, announcing that he would be at a certain tavern in his district, on a 

certain day, for the purpose of receiving from the people of the vicinity — 

# who were requested to call upon him — the information it was his duty to obtain 

from them. 



it is hardly worth while to particularly study their other re- 

In looking for other reliahle data for an estimate of happiness 
which South Carolina statesmanship had secured at home, for 
the mass of that part of its people not systematically and 
with avowed intention held in subjection and degradation, 
I find, in an address of another chief magistrate of the State 
(Governor Hammond) before the South Carolina Institute, the 
following exposition : 

" According to the best calculations which, in the absence of statistic 
facts, can be made, it is believed that, of the 300,000 white inhabitants 
of South Carolina, there are not less than 50,000, whose industry, such 
as it is, and compensated as it- is, is not, in the present condition of 
things, and does not promise, hereafter, to be, adequate to procure them, 
honestly, such a support as every w T hite person in this country is and 
feels himself entitled to." 

" Some cannot be said to work at all. They obtain a precarious 
subsistence by occasional jobs, by hunting, by fishing, sometimes by 
plundering fields or folds, and, too often, by what is, in its effects, far 
worse — trading with slaves, and seducing them to plunder for their 

In another part of the same address, Gov. Hammond says, 
that "$18 or, at the most, $19 will cover the whole necessary 
annual cost of a full supply of wholesome and palatable food, 
purchased in the market ;" meaning, generally, in South Carolina. 
From a comparison of these two- extracts, it will be evident that 
$19 per annum is high wages for the labor of one-sixth of all 
the white population of South Carolina — and that one-sixth 
exclusive of the classes not obliged to labor for their living. 

Mr. Bancroft says, in his Essay on the Decline of the Eoman 
People : 

" When Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, on his way to Spain, * 


to serve in the army before Numantia, traveled through Italy, he was 
led to observe the impoverishment of the great body of citizens in the 
rural districts. Instead of little farms, studding the country with their 
pleasant aspect, and nursing an independent race, he beheld nearly all 
the lands of Italy engrossed by large proprietors ; and the plow was in 
the hands of the slave. In the early periods of the State, Cincinnatus, 
at work in his field, was the model of patriotism ; agriculture and war 
had been the labor and office of freemen ; but of these the greater num- 
ber had now been excluded from employment by the increase of slavery, 
and its tendency to confer the exclusive possession of the soil on the 
few. The palaces of the wealthy towered in the landscape in solitary 
grandeur ; the plebeians hid themselves in miserable hovels. Deprived of 
the dignity of freeholders, they could not even hope for occupation ; for 
the opulent land-owner preferred rather to make use of his slaves, whom 
he could not but maintain, and who constituted his family. Excepting 
the small number of the immeasurably rich, and a feeble, but constantly 
decreasing class of independent husbandmen, poverty was extreme. 7 ' 

No observant traveler can pass through South Carolina, and 
extend his observation beyond the illumined ground of hospi- 
tality, and not perceive a state of things similar to that here 
described. The slaveholders have, as far as possible with their 
capital, secured the best circumstances for the employment of 
that slave-labor which is the most valuable part of their capital. 
They need no assistance from the poor white man : his presence 
near them is disagreeable and unprofitable. Condemned to the 
poorest land, and restricted to the labor of merely providing 
for themselves the simple necessities of life, they are equally 
indifferent and incompetent to materially improve their minds or 
their wealth. 

Few will wish to ask whether the condition of the non-slave- 
holders is compensated by the progress of knowledge and the 
abundance of happiness among the slaveholders. This is impos- 
sible, considering the relative numbers of each. But it will 


be interesting to see how this distinct separation of classes, into 
the ignorant and the cultivated, is opposed to an economical 
direction of the forced labor of the slaves, leads, everywhere, to 
improvidence and waste in the use of the natural resources of 
the country, and prevents a rapid increase of wealth, even among 
the opulent and educated. 

A man finding himself chiefly distinguished from a class 
despised of his comrades, by his superior intellectual cultivation, 
naturally cultivates his intellect farther in those directions which 
wealth gives him a monopoly of pursuing, in preference to those 
in which he must advance on equal terms with the poor. The 
greater the class distinctions, the more general will be the habit 
of lazy contemplation and reflection — of dilettanteism — and the 
less that of practical industry and the capacity for laborious 
personal observation and invention. The South Carolina gentle- 
man is ambitious to generalize, either in war, or in politics, or in 
society ; but to closely superintend and carry out his own plans, 
is excessively irksome and difficult for him. Consequently he 
is obliged to depend upon uncultivated, ignorant, and immoral 
poor men. What is the result on his plantations ? 

" No improvements can be effected — no ameliorations, either of 
negroes or land, can be expected, if overseers are invested with the 
chief authority, and changed every two years. Each one has his 
peculiarities in managing affairs ; plants differently, works differently, 
establishes different rules for the government of negroes, wants 
other implements, and has different views about feeding working-ani- 
mals and rearing stock — -while none of them feel, or can be expected 
to feel, any permanent interest in their employers' concerns. Unless, 
therefore, the latter establishes a system of his own, rigidly adheres to 
it, and compels all his overseers to conform to it, it is obvious that 
everything must be, and continue, at sixes and sevens, with a total or 
partial revolution every one, two, or four years. It is not enough, that 
he should exercise a sort of general superintendence. That may save 


him from speed 7 ruin, and, perhaps, even enable him to get along 
tolerably well ; but, if he desires really to improve, he must descend to 
particulars, and infuse into every plantation operation the spirit of an 
intelligent guardian of a permanent interest. 

" How much better, then, would everything be conducted, if the 
planter himself took upon him the steady, uniform, and entire direction 
of all his affairs, and pursued a system of his own, even in the smallest 
matters, for a series of years. Unfortunately, too, it happens that few 
overseers can be long retained on the same place. They are fond of 
change. If not, they become careless, or, if they think you have a high 
opinion of them, demand such an increase of wages as you cannot give ; 
and, in case you refuse, will leave you, and even take less from another, 
rather than you. Such is the disposition of many of them. 

" These difficulties, like almost all others, would be overcome, by the 
planter assuming the chief management himself. The overseer would 
see that you were in no way dependent on him— could not become 
careless, without speedy detection — and would be more contented to 

" Every planter will assent at once, I am sure, to the proposition. 
The difficulty is, that so few will carry it out — and one or two cannot 
do it. Overseers who can choose employers — which most overseers 
worth having can do — will not submit to it, if they can avoid it. It is 
necessary, therefore, that most, if not all planters, should unite in 
carrying out the system ; and what I have written has been in the 
hope that it might possibly have some influence in bringing about so 
desirable a consummation."* 

Another member of the favored class elucidates the working 
of the system as follows. [By " the man of literature" it will be 
evident that the orator means the man whose main motive of life 
is recreation.] 

" Literature will enable one to take a comprehensive view of agri- 
culture ; to compare systems of different countries, and choose what is 
best for his own purposes ; to trace effects to causes ; to analyze his 
lands, perceive their defects, and apply the remedies. On the other 
hand, * * * we know that success in agriculture depends on 

* Southern Agriculturist, Charleston, vol. iv., p. 323. 


minute attention to objects, separately, trifling, but, aggregately, of the 
greatest importance — indeed, absolutely essential to success. The mar. 
of literature, who is habituated to generalize his thoughts, canno* 
devote his atention to minutiae, even though he may be conscious of 
their importance. Further, it is in vain to possess a knowledge t f 
planting, without possessing a knowledge of the proper management 
of slaves. They are an impelling power ; and, if not properly directed, 
will lead to failure. Now, the very means of acquiring literature, if 
not the acquisition itself, incapacitates us from being able to compete 
with men in their knowledge of trickery. Nothing but an early know- 
ledge of their powers of evasion will allow us to detect their duplicity, 
and prevent us from becoming the dupes of their superior cunning, or 
sagacity in roguery, if you please, in our relative situations. It is 
their business to deceive us, and ours to detect the deceit. The man 
of literary knowledge enters the field at disadvantage, and must be 
imposed upon. Perhaps the strongest argument is, that the acquisition 
of knowledge makes his taste fastidious, so that he compounds to be 
imposed upon.* 

In De Bow's Review, a monthly periodical, especially devoted 
to the advocacy of the theories, interests, and measures of the 
South Carolina school of politicians, for November, 1855, is an 
article on the agriculture of South Carolina, by a South Caro- 
linian ; written for " The Carolinian" newspaper, and endorser 
by the Editor of the Review — who is Superintendent of the U. S. 
Census, and also himself a Carolinian-born — as " an able and 
valuable essay." It is so. By carefully weighing and connect- 
ing a variety of statistical information, many most interesting 
conclusions are reached — all of which, but for their length, x 
would copy. One section of them will, however, suffice for 
my purpose. 

" The average value of the productive industry of the State does not 
exceed, as shown in the table, $62 per head of the entire population, 

♦Address, before the St. Andrew's, Ashley, and Stone Eiver Agricultural 
Association, by their President, J. S. Brisbane, Esq., 1844. 


omitting the two cities, Charleston and Columbia. Full one-half, or 
more, of this amount is consumed on the plantation or farm, as neces- 
sary means of subsistence ; leaving about $31 as the value of cotton 
and other marketable produce, per head. Of this $31, about one- 
third, upon an average, is required to meet the necessary expenses of 
clothing, overseers' wages, or superintendence, taxes, physicians' and 
blacksmiths' bills, to say nothing of the expense of renewing the loss 
of mule and horse-power, and other necessary charges occasionally in- 
curred, leaving a net profit of only $20. G6 per head of the entire popu- 
lation. We have seen that the entire capital of the State, in land and 
labor, is, at a moderate estimate, $269,000,000, or full $400 per capita, 
not including, in this estimate of value, that portion of the population 
which is a charge upon the active capital. If the natural increase is 
computed in the account, that of course will, in most cases, more than 
cover this part of the expense. This, however, is foreign to the matter 
in hand. But to this capital of $400 per head must be added a capital 
of not less than $116 more, to cover the regular losses from death and 
decline in the labor actually employed ; which reduces the net profit 
on the capital to three and six-tenths per cent, per annum. All the 
capital in labor is sunk in the average period of about twenty-two 
years, and $211, the laboring part of capital, being $12.34 per annum, 
which is the interest of $116, at seven per cent, per annum. 

" Let us now suppose the production per head one hundred dollars (and 
it is over this amount in half of the Eastern States), after making the 
same deductions as above, for subsistence and other expenses, there 
would still be left a net profit of $59.66 per head. If, under the in- 
fluence of such a profit from the cultivation of fertile lands, the popula- 
tion were doubled (as soon it would be), such lands might, and probably 
would, be enhanced to five times the present value of the lands of this 
State ; while such a profit would pay more than eight per cent, on the 
capital thus enhanced, and the lands then be worth more than the same 
lands now, with all the slaves upon them. The large amount of lands 
now necessarily cultivated to produce a given amount of cotton, corn, 
or other produce, being three or four times the quantity necessary, if 
they were of first quality, and the consequent increased amount of 
labor expended in cultivation, show conclusively the low condition of 
our agriculture. 

" It is too obvious to require extended illustration, that the slow 
advance of our population mainly arises from the impoverished condition 


of our lands. As lands become exhausted, the returns are not only 
small and unremunerating, but crops become uncertain, from casualties 
and vicissitudes of season, subsistence more precarious, and obtained at 
greater cost The striking fact that those districts possessing naturally 
the best soils are almost stationary in population, while districts of 
inferior soils naturally are filling up, show not only the exhausted state 
of the soil in the former, but prove that the character of slave-labor, and 
the system of cultivation adopted, are unfriendly to density of popu- 

" The exhaustion of our lands, above alluded to, is further evinced by 
the fact that, in the last thirty years, they have remained generally 
stationary in price ; and, in many instances, have actually declined. 
Another fact, very significant of this truth, is the regularly increased 
amount of lands cultivated in different crops per hand, particularly in 
cotton, while the amount produced is proportionally less." 

The business committee of the South Carolina State Agricultu- 
ral Society reported, Aug. 9, 1855 : — 

" Our old-fields are enlarging, our homesteads have been decreasing 
fearfully in number. * * * We are not only losing some of our most 
energetic and useful citizens to supply the bone and sinew of other 
States, but we are losing our slave population, which is the true wealth 
of the State, our stocks of hogs, horses, mules, and cattle are diminish- 
ing in size and decreasing in number, and our purses are strained for 
the last cent to supply their places from the Northwestern States." 

The absurd state and sectional pride of the South Carolinians, 
their simple and profound contempt for everything foreign except 
despotism ; their scornful hatred especially of all honestly demo- 
cratic States, and of everything that proceeds from them; the 
ridiculous cockerel-like manner in which they swell, strut, bluster, 
and bully in their confederate relations, is so trite a subject of 
amusement at the North, that I can only allude to it as afford- 
ing another evidence of a decayed and stultified people. In this 
particular they are hardly surpassed by the most bigoted old 
Turks, or the most interior mandarins of the Yellow Dragon. 


The following extract from the letter of a gentleman who 
manifests every disposition to take things quietly, but who is a 
straightforward, honest man, presents, in a clear and forcible man- 
ner, the present predicament of the State, and the urgent need 
for more statesmanlike policy in her legislation. It is published 
in the Charleston Standard, the editor of which calls attention to 
it, as worthy of especial consideration by every enlightened 
mind, North or South. Two grand juries' of South Carolina (it 
is not, I believe, generally known at the North) have lately, in 
the most solemn manner, recommended a renewed importation 
of slaves from Africa, as the only remedy which the pride of the 
people of the State will permit them to make use of, for their 
half-acknowledged debility. The proposal is favored by the 
most influential newspapers of the State; and a committee of 
the Legislature, to whom the subject was referred, has given its 
approval of the measure, on theological, moral and economical 
grounds, though recommending, from considerations of temporary 
policy, that no action should at present be taken in the matter : 

" For my own part, I do not think that happiness necessarily consists 
in crowded communities, though I confess that in crowded communities 
we find more to satisfy the taste, and more of the' comforts of social life. 
Nor do I believe that the stability of the institution of domestic Slavery 
depends upon its covering the same precise extent of superficial area, or 
upon its possessing the same precise amount of political power as that 
which is possessed by the Free States of this confederacy. I believe 
that there is the possibility of happiness everywhere, and that Slavery 
is destined to an existence perpetual as the hills on which it has been 
planted, and is destined to survive the forms of social constitution which 
oppose it, no matter what may be the present action of our people. But 
still, if we must have towus and cities like the North, if we must have 
manufacturing establishments, if our country must be cut up into small 
parcels, and must bloom like a garden, if our rail-roads are to find the 
business which is to make them profitable, and our rivers are to be ren- 


dered navig ible, and our forests planted, and the whole country become 
resonant with the sounds of active industry, and if, besides all this, we 
must have Kansas and Nebraska slave territory — and I confess it would 
seem to be more in accordance with the schemes of an overruling Provi- 
dence — ive must have the population. If we have these results, we must 
have men to work them. But it has been my unfortunate experience to 
find in the men who mourn the most over the prostrate condition of the 
State, and who browbeat me when I say a word in its favor, the very 
men who shrink from every desirable measure of escape. 

" If we propose to bring over among us the artisans and farmers from 
Central Europe, who have made their roads, their canals, their farms, 
their gardens, and by their wants have given value to every vacant spot 
of land in New York and the New England States, they raise a finger 
of warning at us. These men, when they come, they tell us, will exclude 
our slaves from their legitimate employments, and will create a senti- 
ment, even in the Slave States themselves, against the institution. 

" This, to a great extent, is true. There can be no question but that 
when slaves are cheap, free labor will come to union with them. Free 
enterprise will take the slave, as the cheapest labor it can get ; but 
when slaves are dear, as they are now, it is equally certain that free 
enterprise, instead of using Slavery, will combine against it ; and the 
truth is, therefore, that while near ten thousand foreigners have come to 
Charleston within the last thirty years, near ten thousand negroes have 
left it in the same time. But when, to obviate it, we propose to re- 
open the slave-trade, and present enough of slaves to counteract the 
tendency of free-labor, they raise up both hands in pious horror. 

" The man who will buy the negro that has been torn from his home 
in North Carolina or Virginia — the negro who has been elevated to a 
sense of natural and social relations by the influence of enlightened 
institutions, and the blessed precepts of the Gospel, and who may come 
with his heart-strings bleeding from the recent rupture, will stand 
aghast at the enormity of buying from the merchant of Massachusetts 
or New York the savage African, who knows no ties of relationship, 
and whose condition at home was one of hopeless slavery to a master 
not less a savage than himself. If men are to make a fuss upon this sub- 
ject, they must begin with the domestic slave trade." 

The amount of it, then, is this : Improvement and progress in 
South Carolina is forbidden by its present system. There are 


two ways, in one of which the difficulty must be met : by offer- 
ing encouragement to the emigration of men from regions in 
which Slavery has not destroyed the capacity to labor in the ■ 
people, or by the importation of savages. In the first case, 
Slavery will have to be given up ; in the latter, free or skilled 
labor must be dispensed with, and the great majority of whites 
must be still further degraded and pauperized. 

South Carolina must meet her destiny : either be democrat- 
ized or barbarianized. 

I have no doubt hundreds of her planters will say, when they 
read this — and they may read it, though the poor people may 
not — " Let it be so : barbarism rather than voluntarily yield a 
hair's breadth to this base-born agrarianism. The penalty will 
not come in our time — at least not on us." _„ 

One hundred years hence, the men whose wealth and talent 
will rule South Carolina, will be, in large part, the descendants 
of those now living in poverty, ignorance, and the vices of stupid 
and imbecile minds. Will they still be taking counsel of their 
pride, cramming their children with the ancient sophistries of 
tyranny, and harden their hearts to resist the demands of vulgar 
Humanity % 

Later than in Virginia the spirit of manliness and of personal 
aspiration will permeate the people of South Carolina ; and they 
will demand freedom, equality and fraternity in the social organi- 
zation. Later, yet it will come, and will prevail. But how 
much will, in the meanwhile, have been lost. 

" Non sibi sed aliis-" 

The settlement of Georgia did not originate in mercenary and 


ambitious motives. The design of the founders of the Colony 
was to provide for the poor and unfortunate — more especially 
for discharged prisoners — an asylum in which they might he 
hoped, when free from the social submergement and weight of 
disgrace which, disabled them in England, to support themselves 
by honest industry. A corporation for this purpose having 
been framed, a seal was adopted on which the cap of Liberty 
was a prominent emblem, with the motto, " Non sibi sed aliis" 
" signifying," says Hewitt, " that neither the first Trustees, nor 
their successors could have any views of interest, it being entire- 
ly designed for the benefit and happiness of others." 

Conscious that the class for whom they were to provide were 
most liable, under the best of circumstances, to continue to 
suffer from their own weak character, the Trustees set about the 
formation of a constitution, or code of laws, Avhich should, as far 
as possible, guard their beneficiaries from temptation to trust to 
anything but honest and persevering industry for success, and 
which should educate them to sobriety, self-confidence, and per- 
severance in labor. 

In the first place, therefore, they obtained from the king a 
guarantee to all of whatever birth, or previous condition or per- 
suasion of mind, who should settle in the Colony, equality of 
rights with each other, and with all the free-born subjects of the 
king, native of Great Britain ; and to all, except Papists, perfect 
religious freedom. Negro slavery was expressly prohibited to 
exist in the Colony. Trade with the West Indies was forbidden, 
to prevent the importation of rum. Kestrictions were placed 
upon the trade with the Indians — always a fruitful source of 
danger in the frontier settlements in America, and no less a 
school of knavery, and of all vicious habits, than the jails of 


London. To prevent large tracts from falling, in process of 
time, under one possessor, land was to be granted to the settlers 
only in tail male, subject, on the failure of a male heir, to return 
to the government of the Colony, by which it should be granted 
anew to such other persons, as should be judged for the best 
interest of the commonwealth, provision being made for widows 
and female children. Land, in any case, was to be granted only 
on condition that it should be made productive ; and if it should 
fail to have been fenced, cleared, and cultivated in eighteen years 
after it was granted, in order to remove the temptation to hold 
it longer, in idleness, for speculation, it was stipulated that it 
should revert to the government. Under no consideration was 
any one person or family, however large or wealthy, to be 
granted more than five hundred acres of land within the Colony. 

A secondary purpose of the corporation, by which their pro- 
ject was recommended to the favor of the king, was to form out- 
posts, to guard the Carolinas from invasion by the Spaniards, 
then strongly fortified in Florida. For this purpose, all grants 
of land were made on condition that the grantees should be pre- 
pared to take arms, whenever called upon by proper authority. 

" The first embarkations of poor people from England (I 
quote from Hewitt), being collected from towns and cities, were 
found equally idle and useless members of society abroad, as 
they had been at home. A hardy and bold race of men, inured 
to rural labor and fatigue, they (the Trustees} were persuaded 
would be much better adapted, both to cultivation and defense." 
A hundred and thirty frugal and industrious laboring men were 
therefore procured from Scotland, and one hundred and seventy 
more of the same sort from Germany. The liberal and demo- 
cratic character of the Colony rapidly added to it additional 


forces of these honest and self-reliant people. They were settled 
at posts of danger and barrenness, on the extreme frontier, while 
the moral strength of the English invalids was attempted to be 
nursed on the banks of the Savannah, in the nearest part of the 
Colony to the -South Carolina plantations.* A sad error, this. 

Like children, weak in good resolution, unaccustomed to 
labor, habitually despondent, and ready to despair at the first 
occurrence of unexpected difficulty, the English settlers needed 
to be constantly cheered and animated. That the laws designed 
to remove temptation to vice, and to restrain unhealthy specula- 
tion, operated, in some degree, also, to check enterprise, and 
restrict competition among traders and men of capital, there can 
be no question. But, if it be remembered how largely the Colony 
was composed of people whose first and best business it should 
have been to produce food, and build shelter for themselves, and 
not to transfer goods, I can see no grounds for esteeming, 
according to a common assumption, that the first constitution 
and laws of Georgia were the worst which could have been de- 
vised for their purpose. Considering that they were drawn in an 
age when, by many, feudalism was still deemed the highest pos- 
sible attainment of political and social science, they seem to me 
to have been an extraordinarily sagacious production. 

These people, of course, were indolent, dejected, and soon dis- 
contented. Like all such unfortunates, they labored to find, in 
the errors of others, or in circumstances over which they had no 
control, the grounds of that unhappiness which resulted from 
their own misconduct or indolence. 

The merchants, who thought their interests would be served 

* Hewitt, ii., 45. 


by a liquor and a slave-traffic, and by a free trade with drunken 
Indians, found nothing but hardship and danger in the restric- 
tions of the law. The South Carolinians, over the river, had 
slaves to do their work for them, made themselves jolly with 
cheap rum, and entertained Indians and pirates with great profit. 
The ignorant, poor people were very ready to believe themselves 
oppressed ; that it was impossible for white people to work in 
that climate, especially without cheap liquor, to sustain their 
strength, and were easily persuaded to raise an outcry for free 
trade and Slavery. Ungrateful, " they could," says Hewitt, 
"view the design of the Trustees in no other light than that of 
having decoyed them into misery," and "they frankly told them 
that nothing could prevent the Colony from being totally de- 
serted, but the same encouragement with their more fortunate 
neighbors in Carolina."* 

" But the Highlanders," says the same chronicler, strangely 
enough, "instead of joining in this application, to a man remon- 
strated against the introduction of slaves." " They considered 
perpetual Slavery as shocking to human nature, and deemed the 
•permission of it a grievance, and which, in some future day, 
might also prove a scourge, and make many feel the smart of 
that oppression they [the poor Englishmen,] so earnestly de- 
sired to introduce." So it was also with the industrious Ger- 

And for twenty years, the people were thus divided in two 
parties : those who had been coaxed to come out because of 
their bravery, hardihood and industry, forming the bulk of one — 
conservative and democratic; the speculators, traders, office- 

* Hewitt, iL, 149 


holders, and the ignorant rabble of loafers at Savannah, who 
had been sent out for charity's sake, the other — disorganizing 
and pro-slavery. 

Many of the arguments of the latter were identical with those 
we now hear. - " They judged that the British [read American] 
Constitution, zealous for the rights and liberties of mankind, 
could not permit subjects [read citizens] to be deprived of the 
common privileges of all Colonists" [read white men]. " That 
the cbief cause of all their calamities was, the strict adherence to 
a chimerical and impracticable scheme" [read infidel ami fanati- 
cal isms]. " The leading men at New Inverness and Ebenezer 
— the Scotch and German settlements — [read Lawrence] who op- 
posed the introduction of slaves, were traduced and persecuted." 
" The standing toast at Savannah was, 'the one thing needful'," 
meaning Slavery. The churches were induced to represent it 
as desirable that Africans should be imported, that they might 
be converted to Christianity. The clergy were flattered to 
to preach and pray for it as an institution sanctioned by the 
Bible. The South Carolinians constantly said all they could, 
to increase the discouragement of the Georgians, and to assist 
them to obtain an abrogation of the proviso against slaves.* 

At length, after slaves had been for some time imported and 
held in defiance of the law, or an evasion had been prac- 
ticed, by obtaining them from South Carolina on a life- 
lease, the benevolent Trustees, " weary of the complaints of the 
people," were persuaded to resign their charter. The king at 
once accepted it, appointed a royal governor, and removed 
all restraint to Slavery. 

* Hewitt and Hildreth. 


One can, I think, with considerable confidence anticipate, that 
though Kansas should be forced, in this second year of its settle- 
ment, to submit to the permission of Slavery, the strong senti- 
ment of a large part of the settlers against it, and the free-labor 
character sustained up to the present time, by so many of them, 
will, in a degree, restrict the evil of Slavery, and insure a better 
character to its future population, than would be the case if, 
from the outset, Slavery had been welcomed, and inconsiderately 
submitted to by all the people. 

It is but reasonable to suppose, that during the much larger 
protection from, and resistance to Slavery, enjoyed by the first 
settlers of Georgia, habits of hopeful labor, and genuine, honest 
industry, had been established among much of its rural English, 
as well as retained, and more than ever cherished by the Scotch 
and German portion of its population. Such men would natu- 
rally disdain, for a long time, to avail themselves of the unre- 
quited labor of slaves ; or, if using it, would be less demoralized 
by its use than others, and would educate their families, not 
only in their own habits, but to some degree in their own senti- 
ments of respect for labor. 

Being the most vigorous in body as well as in mind, the num- , 
ber of their descendants would be large in proportion to those of 
the more effeminate class. Thus, unless the after immigration, 
or other circumstances, should be very much against it, the cus- 
toms, the opinions, the popular legislation, and whole character 
of the general body politic of the State might have been expected 
to be greatly and favorably influenced by these early laws and 
these early habits and sentiments of a part of its people. 

This element has, of course, been greatly smothered ; yet in 

our own day, it is obvious to the traveler, and notorious in the 


stock market, that tkore is more life, enterprise, skill, and indus- 
try in Georgia than in any other of the old Slave Common- 

In a letter from a native Alabamian to a New York paper 
(the Times), it is thus testified: 

. " Georgia has the reputation of being the Yankee land of tJie Scruth, 
and it is well deserved. She has the idea of doing — the will and the 
hand to undertake and accomplish — and you have only to be abroad 
among her people to see that she intends to lead the way in the race of 
Southern empire. Already over eight hundred miles of rail-road have 
been finished ; but this is only one item of her rapid advance. Facto- 
ries, improved means of agriculture, diversified labor, endowed institu- 
tions, are all contributing to her progress. I have known many 
Georgians who are settled over the Southwest in the different States, 
and have always found them a very industrious, moral, elevated people." 

And the present laws of Georgia show the effects of the early 
democratic education of the Colony, as do those of South Caro- 
lina the reverse influences attending her settlement ; being still 
much less undemocratic, with regard to the Avhites, much less 
inhumane with regard to the blades, than those of the other pre- 
revolutionary Slave States. Although advantage continues to 
be taken of that provision of the Constitution, which permits 
slave property to be represented in our national councils, Georgia 
repudiates, in her internal politics, the absurd and unjust prin- 
ciple of it. The vote of every freeman counts one, and but one, 
though he owns a hundred slaves.* The wickedness and danger 

* A friend of mine once said to a Georgian: " I confess, H., whenever I am 
reminded that your power in our Congress, hy the reason of the hundred slaves 
you own, counts as sixty-one to my one, because I happen to live at the North, 
and choose to invest the results of my labor in rail-roads, instead of niggers, I 
have a very strong indisposition to submit to it." 

"I declare," answered the Georgian, "I should think you would; I never 


of the internal slave trade is distinctly recognized, by a provision 
of her laws forbidding the importation of slaves from other States. 
A provision which, unfortunately, however, like nearly all laws 
against the evils of Slavery, is so easily evaded as to be entirely 
useless, except as an act of conscience. The restrictive laws of 
the State, upon negroes — as those forbidding their instruction, 
and those with regard to free colored seamen — are less fre- 
quently enforced, and are more unpopular, and more violently, 
because less honestly, defended, than in any other State. More 
stringent and outrageous means have also been taken to prevent 
the "infection of abolitionism" reaching the people in Georgia, 
than in any other State, evidently because the apprehension of it 
by the ruling class has been greater than elsewhere. There still 
stands unrepealed an act of the legislature, offering a large 
reward for the head of a citizen of New York, who has commit- 
ted no crime recognized by the constitution of the confederacy. 

But, let us consider, what was the effect of abrogating the 
law of freedom ? 

It was several years before slaves began to be much used — 
showing that, during the greatest clamor for them, there were 
very few persons who personally wanted them. Ultimately, 
however, large speculations began to be made with their labor ; 
and, at the same time, the richer class — as in Virginia and Caro- 

thought of it in that light before ; it's wrong, and you ought not to submit to it 
— and, if I were you, I would not." 

Howison, the Virginia historian, said, in 1848 : " It would be hard to find an 
equitable objection to this compromise (the slave representation). The instru- 
ment containing it was adopted by the Northern States, and they have ever 
since acquiesced without resistance ; and if it was right for the Union, it seems, 
a fortiori, right for Virginia." 

As the people of Virginia has since decided that it is not right for Virginia, 
as have those of Georgia for their State, it would seem, " a fortiori," not right 
for the Union [See Appendix A.] 


lina — commenced to secure for themselves, and to withdraw 
from the labor of the free poor, the most available land of the 
country. Many planters were attracted from South Carolina, 
the general immigration continued, and more capitalists were 
numbered in it. Were the poor people, or the people in general, 
out of those engaged in commerce, benefited thereby? Not at 
all. Instead of giving them profitable employment, these capi- 
talists bought slaves in large numbers, and monopolized for 
them, in a great degree, the valuable opportunities and en- 
couragements to labor, which the Colony afforded. These 
slaves they obliged to obtain whatever of value the country 
would produce, returning them only the small share of these 
productions necessary to sustain their lives. Whatever else 
they wanted, they obtained direct, or through the merchants, 
from England ; paying for it from the remainder of the produc- 
tions of the labor of their slaves. 

The poor white people remained as before, except that the 
results of the labor of the industrious had to be sold in compe- 
tition with that of the labor of the slaves. 

In short, the abrogation of the law was equivalent, in its 
effects on the people for whose benefit the Colony was founded, 
to what, upon honest tradesmen, would be a general granting 
of licenses, to those who could afford to pay enough for them, 
to sell stolen goods. 

Of course, the wealth of the land was more rapidly worked 
out, and there was a rapid increase of exports and imports, 
which Southern politicians and historians cite as evidence of the 
benevolence of Slavery, and which Hewitt especially points to, 
as proof that Slavery had been " the one thing needful" for the 
prosperity of the Colony. 


The following picture, by a native Georgian, of what was 
the richest part of Georgia, Avhen Hewitt wrote, will show at 
what expense this rapid increase of wealth — that is, of wealthy- 
people and of trade, in the Colony — was obtained : 

" The classic hut occupied a lovely spot, overshadowed by majestic 
hickories, towering poplars, and strong-armed oaks. The little plain on 
which it stood, was terminated, at the distance of about fifty feet from 
the door, by the brow of a hill, which descended rather abruptly to a 
noble spring, that gushed joyously forth from among the roots of a 
stately beech, at its foot. The stream from this fountain scarcely burst 
into view, before it hid itself in the dark shade of a field of cane, which 
overspread the dale through which it flowed, and marked its windings, 
until it turned from sight, among vine-covered hills, at a distance far 
beyond that to which the eye could have traced it, without the help of 
its evergreen belt. A remark of the Captain's, as we viewed this lovely 
country, will give the reader my apology for the minuteness of the fore- 
going description : ' These lands,' said he, ' will never wear out. Where 
they lie level, they will be just as good, fifty years hence, as they are 
now. ' Forty-two years afterwards, I visited the spot on which he stood 
when he made the remark. The sun poured his whole strength upon 
the bald hill which once supported the secpiestered school-house ; many 
a deep-washed gully met at a sickly bog, where had gushed the limpid 
fountain ; a dying willow rose from the soil which had nourished the 
venerable beech ; flocks wandered among the dwarf pines, and cropped a 
scanty meal from the vale where the rich cane had bowed and rustled 
to every breeze, and all around was barren, dreary, and cheerless."* 

I will quote from graver authority : De Bow's Eesources of 
the South, from Tenner's Southern Medical Eeports : 

" The native soil of Middle Georgia is a rich, argillaceous loam, resting 
on a firm, clay foundation. In some of the richer counties, nearly all 
the lands have been cut down, and appropriated to tillage ; a large 
maximum of which have been worn out, leaving a desolate picture for 
the traveler to behold. Decaying tenements, red, old hills, stripped of 

* Georgia Scenes, by the Rev. and Hon. Judge Longstrect, now President of 
the University of Mississippi. Harper's edition, p. 76. 


their native growth and virgin soil, and washed into deep gullies, with 
here and there patches of Bermuda grass and stunted pine shrub3, 
struggling for subsistence on what was once one of the richest soils in 
America." » 

In 1854, the Hon. Mr. Stephens, M. C, from Georgia, in a 
speech in the House of Eepresentatives, attempted to show that 
the agricultural productions of his State were more valuable than 
those of Ohio, and thereby to obtain an economical argument 
for Slavery. In order to do so, he left hay — the most valuable 
crop of Ohio, and large quantities of which are exported to the 
Slave States, but of which none of consequence is raised in 
Georgia — entirely out of the calculation ; giving as a reason that 
corn-fodder was not returned from Georgia. Corn-fodder is a 
crop of comparatively small value, but that of Ohio, which, was 
also omitted, would, if returned, have far exceeded that of 
Georgia. He then placed absurdly low prices upon the great 
staples of Ohio, and unusually high ones upon those of Georgia, 
and even put higher prices upon the same articles in his Georgia 
than in his Ohio table. The truth is, though Georgia has every 
advantage in climate, and enjoys, in common with other Slave 
States, a natural protection in the culture of the great staple of 
cotton, her average agricultural productions, by the ordinary 
commercial method of calculation — taking the prices for all 
crops from those ruling at a common market — are probably less 
than half in value those of Ohio. In mechanical and manufac- 
tured articles, the production of which requires intelligence and 
trained skill in the laborer, Ohio has a still greater superiority. 
This disgraceful argument for Slavery has probably been placed 
in the hands of nearly every man who can read, in the State of 
Georgia. A refutation of it, proving Slavery to be a restraint 


upon their prosperity, would be denied a general distribution 
through, the post-offices. 

In De Bow's Review, for August, 1855, may be found a table, 
based on the census, in which the value of the productive in- 
dustry, in the year 1850, in Georgia, is said to be $63,797,059. 
The same in Ohio, without counting the value of live stock of any 
kind, $149,577,898. The year 1850 was an especially unfavor- 
able one for the most valuable crops of Ohio. 

It is impossible to obtain statistics which will show definitely 
the distribution of wealth in any of the Slave States. From a 
study of pages 94 and 95 of the official compendium of the cen- 
sus, it appears probable that only twenty-seven in a hundred of 
the white families in Georgia are possessed of slaves, and that 
one fifth of these own over one-half of all the slaves in the State. 
That is, less than one-fiftieth of the white people own one- 
half of the property in slaves. The small number of the very 
wealthy, without doubt, own more than that proportion of the 
wealth of the State in land, in houses, in furniture, and in all the 
material comforts of life. In Carolina the distribution is much 
more unequal. 

And how general is that intelligence which has made Georgia 
" the Banner State of the South?" 

Of the free native population of Georgia, according to the 
census returns, one in nine and a half, on an average, are with- 
out the smallest rudiments of school-education (cannot read or 
write). In Maine, which among the old Free States compares 
most closely with Georgia in density of population (that of one 
being 16, the other 15 to square mile), the proportion is one in 
two hundred and forty-one. With other Free States, a com- 
parison would be still more unfavorable to the Georgia experi- 


ment, and more accurate returns would, doubtless, increase the 

In Georgia, the mail expenses are equal to twenty-five cents a 
head of the population. The postage receipts are only sixteen 
cents a head, on an average. In Maine, the cost of transporting 
the United States mails would be paid by a tax of nine cents 
upon each inhabitant. The people, however, voluntarily pay 
twenty-one and a half cents a head, on an average, for the 
intelligence conveyed in them. The people of Maine, with but 
one more inhabitant to a square mile, pay to the United States 
government considerably more than twice the cost of their mail- 
service ; those of Georgia, less than two-thirds the cost of theirs. 

The truth is — I judge from observation — it is a distinct " bet- 
ter class " that gives Georgia its reputation for great prosperity ; 
and that class, though intelligence, and consequently wealth, is 
more diffused than in South or North Carolina, is not a large one, 
compared with the whole population. It must be also admitted 
that it is very largely composed and directed in enterprise by 
persons born in the Free States. The number of these, propor- 

* The following table shows the native white population, and the number of 
native white adults ignorant of letters, in a few States : 

Population. Ignorant Adults. 

Maine, 549,674 1,999 

North Carolina, 550,267 73,226 

Massachusetts, 819,044 1,055 

Tennessee, 749,661 77,017 

Ohio, 1,732,698 51,968 

Virginia, 871,393 75,868 

Connecticut, 324,095 726 

Maryland, 3